Seared Scallops

As much as Walden Local Meat is known for their beef, chicken, and pork products, they also offer seafood as an add-on to your monthly share. I had been eyeing their seafood add-ons for the past couple of months and finally decided to throw in some scallops to my July share. I’m glad I did because not only were they generous with the portion size but the scallops were some of the freshest I’ve ever had.

  • Ingredients:
  • 20-24 scallops
  • 3 teaspoons butter
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. If your scallops are not already cleaned up and still have the muscle that wraps around them, remove that first using your thumb and index finger. Mine were already removed by the time I received them but you never know.
  2. Pat dry the scallops and season both sides with kosher salt and black pepper.
  3. Add the butter and oil to a cast iron pan on high heat. Once the butter is melted and everything starts bubbling, gently add the scallops making sure they do not touch one another, reduce the heat to medium.
  4. Sear the scallops on each side for about 2 minutes, or until they have a golden crust.
  5. Serve immediately.

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These were so easy to make and fast, too! Definitely a recipe to keep handy for when we finally return to the office and the commute that comes along with it.

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Chicken Thighs with Tomatoes and Feta

I love one pan recipes. They’re simple, somewhat fast, and there’s less clean-up involved. This is also the first recipe in a while that I did not use meat supplied by Walden simply because my next delivery isn’t until this Friday (insert crying emoji here).

  • Ingredients:
  • 4-6 chicken thighs, skin-on bone-in
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes
  • Harissa powder & harissa paste (you can make the paste from the powder by incorporating olive oil)
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Dried oregano
  • 4 ounce block of feta
  • Crusty bread (for serving)
  1. Pat chicken thighs with paper towels, season with salt and harissa powder (this is VERY spicy so be careful) all over. Arrange chicken skin side down in a cold cast iron skillet. Set over medium heat and cook chicken undisturbed until skin is very deep golden brown and easily releases from the pan (20-25 minutes). Transfer chicken to a plate, skin side up.
  2. Combine tomatoes, harissa paste, vinegar, oregano, and salt (to taste) in the same skillet. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes burst and their juices begin to thicken (8-10 minutes).
  3. Nestle chicken thighs into tomatoes skin side up. Cook on medium-high for about 10 minutes then reduce the heat to medium, bring to a simmer, and cook until chicken is cooked through (20-25 minutes). Each skillet is different so keep an eye on the chicken to make sure it’s cooked and not burning. You may also flip the chicken skin side down halfway through cooking.
  4. Remove from heat and break the feta into large pieces scattered over the chicken. Some pieces will stay intact while others will melt into the sauce ever so slightly. Sprinkle additional oregano over the top.
  5. Serve with bread.
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Complete!

This was very delicious and I love how easy it is to customize to make it your own. Like I mentioned earlier in this post, be sure to watch how much harissa you use. I LOVE spice but even I know a little too much will ruin the entire recipe. It’s also very important to use a cast iron skillet (mine is over 70 years old!) since it seals in the flavor and heats evenly.

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Crock Pot Oxtail Stew

Ever since signing up for Walden Local Meat I have been cooking a lot more at home. Part of the reason I have been cooking more is also because I’ve been working from home since March. Regardless, Walden has given me the opportunity to purchase and cook different cuts of meat that I cannot necessarily find in the grocery store. For this month’s share I added oxtail and was overjoyed when it arrived. Side note: oxtail in your every day supermarket is mostly bone and fat, the ones from Walden have a good chunk of meat on them.

  • Ingredients:
  • Olive oil
  • 2-3 pounds beef oxtail
  • 1.5 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and and cut into chunks
  • Baby carrots cut in half (you can play with the amount of these)
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 3/4 cup dry red wine
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1.5 cups frozen peas
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  1. Heat oil in a cast iron pan. Cook oxtail for about 4 minutes on each side, until browned. Transfer oxtail to a Crock Pot (slow cooker).
  2. Add potatoes, carrots, onion, tomato sauce, beef broth, red wine, parsley, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, and smoked paprika to Crock Pot.
  3. Cook on low for 7 hours.
  4. At the 7 hour mark, add the peas, some salt & pepper, and stir. Cook on low for 1 more hout.
  5. Season with more salt & pepper (as needed) and ladle into bowls.
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Right before putting the lid on and starting to cook.

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Meat, not just fat & bone.

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The stew itself was even delicious!

Super easy to make. Something a bit on the healthier side. Great on a day that isn’t too hot outside but you still want something along the lines of comfort food.

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Beer Bread

There’s a reason I made beer bread. That reason is I was recently given a Danish Dough Whisk which I really wanted to try (it’s awesome btw) and I really like beer and always have it on-hand at my house. The primary reason I made beer bread, however, is because I love science and a bread where you DON’T need self-rising flour OR yeast is right up my alley.

  • Ingredients:
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (optional or sub with a cheese you prefer)
  • 1 12 oz. can beer (I used Blue Point’s Summer Ale but any beer will do), room temp.
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a loaf pan.
  2. Mix together dry ingredients and slowly pour in the beer of your choice.  The beer will foam but it’s pretty cool to watch as it attaches itself to the dry ingredients. Add your cheese or omit if you don’t want cheese at all.
  3. Use your dough whisk (or any utensil you typically use for dough) to combine all ingredients until the beer is no longer foamy and has been absorbed by the dry ingredients, forming a dough.
  4. Pour dough into prepared loaf pan.
  5. Pour melted butter over the top of the dough.
  6. Put dough in the oven and bake for 1 hour.
  7. After 1 hour, remove from oven and take the dough out of the loaf pan immediately. Allow to cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes prior to slicing.
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A beautiful bread!

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This was incredibly easy to make and very very delicious. There are so many variations you can make from different cheeses to herbs to plain ol’ black pepper. It’s even better the next day!

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Easy Peasy Cheesecake

When your significant other wants cheesecake, well, then you make them cheesecake. Or you do what I did and complain it’s too much work, it won’t taste right, blah blah blah and then you make it, anyway. As much as I love to bake, I had not made cheesecake in close to ten years but I’m glad I did. I used this recipe as a guide and it came out delicious! The one foolproof tip for great cheesecake? Use room temperature ingredients (yes, even your eggs need to be sitting out for at least 30 minutes prior to prep). 

  • Ingredients for Graham Cracker Crust
  • 1.5 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 7 tablespoons butter, melted

 

  • Ingredients for Cheesecake Filling
  • 32 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temp.
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cups sour cream
  • 1.5 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs, room temp., slightly beaten

 

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Prepare crust by combining graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and brown sugar, stirring well. Add melted butter and use a fork to to combine ingredients.
  3. Pour crumbs into a 9″ springform pan and press firmly into the bottom and slightly up the sides, set aside.
  4. In a large bowl using a hand mixer, add cream cheese and stir until smooth and creamy.
  5. Add sugar and stir again until creamy (do NOT over mix!)
  6. Add sour cream, vanilla, and salt. Mix until well-combined.
  7. With mixer on low speed, gradually add in eggs (one at a time), mixing just until each egg is incorporated. Once all eggs have been added, use a rubber spatula to to scrape the sides of the bowl and make sure all ingredients are well-combined.
  8. Pour cheesecake batter into prepared springform pan. Place pan on top of a foil-lined baking sheet in case of leaks.
  9. Transfer to oven and bake for about 75 minutes.
  10. At 75 minutes the top and edges of the cake should be slightly puffed and jiggle like Jello if you shake the pan. If you press the top with a finger, it should spring back to the touch. Don’t over bake!
  11. Allow cheesecake to cool on the stove for at least 2 hours (or until it reaches room temperature). The stove is the warmest part besides the oven so the cake will cool off as the oven does the same, preventing cracks.
  12. Transfer to the fridge and let the cake chill overnight. Remove the sides of the springform pan prior to serving.
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Fresh out of the oven

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After chilling in the fridge overnight. One small crack but nothing major.

Super easy to make. No water bath required.

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Taco Casserole

Thanks to a delivery from Walden Local Meat, I had a pound of ground beef to use and was on the hunt for an easy enough recipe during a busy work week. Does anyone else feel like they’re working MORE while being forced to work from home or is it just me? Anyway, I found the following recipe here but decided to make a few small changes. Below is my take on this recipe.

  • Ingredients:
  • Olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium white or yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder (adjust based on how much heat you like)
  • Ground cumin, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 15 ounces tomato salsa (use whatever heat you like)
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (sharp or mild)
  • Lettuce and tomato (optional for garnish)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9×13 inch baking dish with oil, set aside.
  2. Heat small amount of oil in a large, high-sided skillet over medium heat. Add the beef and cook, breaking up the meat until browned and cooked through. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the meat to a plate then drain any fat from the skillet.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add more oil, and heat. Add the onion and garlic, stirring occasionally until softened. Return the beef to the skillet and stir in the beans. Add the tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine and cook for about two minutes.
  4. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the salsa and 1 cup of the cheese. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle with the remaining cup of cheese.
  5. Bake until the cheese is melted and the casserole is heated through, about 20-25 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Optional: top with lettuce and tomato.
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Fresh out of the oven

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Garnished with lettuce and tomato, served over a fried tortilla

This was a good dish for when you need something you can prep during lunchtime and bake right before dinnertime.

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Slow Cooker Chicken Stroganoff

What’s a better thing to make than something hearty while we’re all quarantined and working from home? Also you’ve got to love a slow cooker during this time. Set it and forget it! Hop back on your Skype/Zoom calls while you wish smell-o-vision existed.

  • Ingredients:
  • 2 lbs. chicken thighs, cubed (halal stores have these pre-cubed)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 (.7 oz.) package dried Italian-style salad dressing mix
  • 1 (8 0z.) package cream cheese
  • 1 (10.75 oz.) can cream of potato soup
  • McCormick rotisserie seasoning, to taste
  • 1 bag medium-size egg noodles
  1. Season chicken with salt and pepper, place in slow cooker with butter and dressing mix. Mix together.
  2. Cook on low for 5 hours.
  3. Add to slow cooker cream cheese, soup, and rotisserie seasoning. Mix together.
  4. Cook on high for 30 minutes.
  5. Cook egg noodles according to instructions on bag.
  6. Serve stroganoff over egg noodles.
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So good and so filling!

This was incredibly easy to make. Perfect on a chilly rainy day or when you’re just craving something that hits the spot. Now can we please get out of quarantine?

 

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Raspberry-Lemon Cheesecake Bars

Who else is stuck working from home due to the Coronavirus? Most of us? Great! Yes, it becomes rather boring and if you’re like me you constantly need to be doing something – anything! Luckily my job allows me to work from home, however, when I’m in the office I’m typically running around. At home? Not so much. I decided to whip up the below recipe that I originally discovered in this month’s issue of Food Network Magazine. I have to say, it did the trick when it came to keeping me sane.

  • Ingredients:
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 cups raspberries
  • 1 tablespoon each zest and juice from 1 lemon
  • 4 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 4 eggs
  1. Preheat over to 325 degrees F.
  2. Line 13×9 inch pan with foil, with foil extending over sides
  3. Combine graham cracker crumbs, 2 tablespoons sugar, and butter. Press onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes
  4. Reserve 1/2 cup of raspberries and 1 teaspoon lemon zest for later use
  5. Beat cream cheese, lemon juice, remaining zest, and remaining sugar in a large mixing bowl until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Gently fold in remaining raspberries and pour over crust
  6. Bake 45-50 minutes or until center is almost set (not completely). Cool completely
  7. Refrigerate for 4 hours. Top with reserved raspberries and lemon zest
  8. Slice and serve!
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Not the prettiest and they did crack while cooling in the fridge but still delicious!

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I had to show off my newest potholder which was a birthday gift.

These came out so good! Messy but good! I honestly don’t taste much of the lemon so if you’re looking for more of a citrus flavor,  I would use two lemons. These definitely have more of a raspberry taste to them.

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Air Fryer Shrimp Empanadas

Anyone who follows my blog knows I love Skinnytaste’s recipes. Recently I pre-ordered, and received, her latest cookbook: The Skinnytaste Air Fryer Cookbook. I also really love my air fryer so these two things went hand-in-hand. I had been meaning to fry up some empanadas so when I saw this recipe for ones made in the air fryer, I was sold. These are simple to make, on the healthy side, and are a great snack or small meal. I slightly modified this recipe’s ingredients. Below is my take.

  • Ingredients:
  • 1/2 pound frozen cooked shrimp, chopped with tails removed
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced red bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 10 frozen La Fe empanada discs (Goya works, too)
  • Olive oil spray
  1. In a medium bowl, combine the shrimp, red onion, garlic, bell pepper, lime juice, and salt.
  2. In a small bowl, beat the egg with 1 teaspoon water until smooth.
  3. Place an empanada disc on a work surface and put two tablespoons of the shrimp mixture in the center. Brush the outer edges of the disc with the egg wash. Fold the disc over and gently press the edges to seal. Use a fork to firmly press around the edges to crimp and completely seal. Repeat steps with all ten discs. Brush tops of all empanadas with egg wash.
  4. Preheat the air fryer to 380 degrees F. for three minutes.
  5. Spray the bottom of the air fryer basket with olive oil spray to prevent sticking. Working in batches (mine fits two at a time), arrange a single layer of the empanadas in the basket and cook for 8 minutes, flipping halfway (4 minutes on each side), until golden brown and crispy. Use silicone tongs to flip since they’re air fryer safe and gentler on the empandas.
  6. Serve hot.
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Before they hit the air fryer.

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All done!

These came out delicious! Light and crispy while nice and fluffy. No grease whatsoever (ah, the beauty of an air fryer), I can’t wait to make these again, next time maybe with a chicken filling. These also can afford a tad more shrimp in the filling if you want a fuller empanada.

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Chocolate Peanut Cookies

Leave it to me to have a new oven for a few months and take all of those months to bother baking a batch of cookies. I’ve used the stove a bunch of times, the oven itself for cooking, but I did not use it for baking cookies until today! Since the weather is becoming cooler I am in a baking mood and what better way to kick-off baking season than with a batch of chocolate peanut cookies? I originally obtained this recipe from the Taste of Home Most Requested Cookies cookbook but I changed a few ingredients to make it my own (and also because my local supermarket didn’t have any mini peanut butter cups for sale!).

  • Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (two of the Jif to-go cups works for this if you don’t keep PB on hand, like myself)
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons beaten egg (not a whole egg!)
  • 2 tablespoons 2% milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup honey-roasted peanuts, slightly crushed
  • 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter chips
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. I tried out my new KitchenAid sifter & scale stand mixer attachment today and it made measuring just the right amount of dry ingredients seamless.
  3. In a large bowl of a stand mixer, fixed with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, peanut butter, and both sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, milk, and vanilla.
  4. Gradually add the flour, baking soda, and salt mixture to the creamed mixture and mix well. This is where the sifter attachment came in handy.
  5. Remove bowl from the stand mixer and stir in the peanuts, chocolate chips, and peanut chips.
  6. Drop by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto two ungreased baking sheets (this recipe makes about two dozen cookies so you will most likely need more than one baking sheet). Place both sheets in oven and bake for 10-12 minutes (start to keep an eye on them around the 10 minute mark, depending on your oven).
  7. When finished baking, remove sheets from oven and wait one minute before transferring cookies to wire cooling racks. Store in an airtight container.
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Not the best photo but definitely gets the point across.

These were delicious and nice and gooey inside (while still warm) with the perfect mix of chocolate and peanut butter. Definitely an easier cookie recipe since they are drop cookies and only take a few minutes to bake in the oven.

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