Tag Archives: whats cookin good lookin

So the other night on my way home from work I was doing my normal blog reading on my Google Reader and I found some delicious summer recipes that I just had to try. These were the inspiration:

Spicy Curry Shrimp // Mango Salsa // Agua Fresca

I stopped at my now favorite grocery store, Cermak, and attempted to ride my bike home with grocery bags and all. Now tell me what in the world I was thinking. Guys, I bought a large, and I mean LARGE, watermelon and thought I could ride my bike with it in hand. I mean really. The thing weighed about 20 pounds. Here’s me pausing to think how on earth I would transport this baby home.

So what did I do? I tucked one of the grocery bags in my commuter bag, took the other and looped it around my handlebars and then wobbled onto my bike with the watermelon tucked under my arm, as if it were a football, but 15 pounds heavier. I made it about 10 feet until I fell over and the watermelon slipped out of my grasp and crash landed on my tortilla chips. It was a sad site to see. I gave it one more try before I decided I was going to kill myself with this balancing act. Note: I am no trapeze artist. So I ended up walking my bike all the way home, groceries in hand. It was a long 4 blocks.

By the time I got home I was exhausted. But I was determined to get curry shrimp with mango salsa in my belly. Here’s what I made…

Here are your ingredients:
Recipe adapted from Dinner: A Love Story

1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
3/4 tsp. curry powder
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1 bag frozen shrimp (I used precooked already deveined and peeled)
Top with chopped cilantro and lime wedges

Mix all the spices in a small bowl. I didn’t make enough spice for the amount of shrimp I had. So I used it sparingly. Use less than 1 full bag for better seasoned shrimp. Rinse shrimp. Dethaw them in a colander under cold water for 30 minutes. Skewer shrimp on to kabob sticks and place on platter. Instead of rolling individual shrimp in the spice mixture, I sprinkled it over the top of my skewers. Turned the shrimp over on the other side and sprinkled remaining mixture.

Justin preheated the grill to medium heat and sprayed Pam to prevent stickage. Since our shrimp were precooked they just needed a few minutes on each side to warm up. Really up to you how you like them done. After the grilling is finished. Serve with fresh cut limes and squeeze juice over top. Add cilantro leaves as your garnish. And now this is a must… Make sure you get a piece of cilantro in every bite.

For my mango salsa I used some of what I had in the fridge plus a a few extra goodies. I know my measurements aren’t exact but that’s how I cook sometimes. Plus you really can’t mess this up.

1 mango, diced
1/2 of a cucumber, diced
1/2 of a red onion, diced
1/2 of a red pepper, diced
1/2 of a jalapeño, finely chopped
1/2 of a lime, squeezed juice
Handful of cilantro
Salt and pepper

Dice and chop all your veggies and place in medium bowl. Cut like lime in half and squeeze juice over veggies. Add cilantro leaves and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Now mix it all up and Voila, serve with tortilla chips, preferably crushed 🙂

We totally enjoyed this meal and the two dishes pair great together! It was darn near perfect until the part where Justin dumped too much salt in the salsa because I left it on the pour setting instead of dash. Whoops. Still tasted good. And they were great leftovers too.

We didn’t end up doing the watermelon drink that night but it’s next on the list. Hence the reason why I went to all the trouble to buy the 20 pounder!

Hope you enjoy!


So the other night I decided to be pretty resourceful and make dinner with whatever I had in the fridge and in the cupboards. I rarely do this.  Normally I pick out a recipe and then go shopping for whatever ingredients I need.  This sometimes can be hassle and counterproductive.  Hopefully as my cooking skills improve I will become more of a natural rather than a strict-recipe-follower.

First I went to the backyard to check out how our basil was looking.  When I first planted it, I nearly killed it.  I’m not much of a green thumb and often forget the basics aka WATER YOUR PLANTS.  In college I was given one request by my roommate who was going to be gone on a trip: take care of Rosie, her rosemary plant. Bad babysitter choice.  I completely neglected Rosie.  Whoops. Don’t worry, my roommate revived her when she came back.  My mother-in-law and stepmom hopefully will instill some better gardening skills soon.  Anyways here’s Mr. Basil…

I thought he was looking pretty good (minus the fact that someone has been snacking on him).  So I picked a bunch of the leaves off.  I had to tell myself I was only pruning him, not killing him.  My mother-in-law taught me that its good to snip off all the dead stems so then plants can grow new ones.  But I get really afraid that they won’t grow back.  She’s pretty trustworthy, so here’s to pruning!  Afterwards I gave the leaves a good cold bath.

As soon as I started washing them, the scent from the herb was incredible.  It’s amazing how different herbs smell when they are home grown vs buying them at the store.  It was like a little snippet of heaven for my nostrils.  Next, time to scour the cabinets and fridge for all the ingredients: olive oil, garlic cloves, pine nuts, parmasean cheese, lemon juice.

I then stuffed all the ingredients into my handy Ninja chopper.

And boom, pesto sauce.  So incredibly easy. Here was my outcome after some taste testing and mastering.

Next I took my 3 chicken breasts and cut them into strips.

I greased an 8×8 cassarole dish.  I took my basting brush and brushed half the pesto mixture on the bottom of the dish.  I then laid in my chicken cutlets.  I brushed the rest of the pesto mixture on top of the chicken, making sure I got every bit of the poultry covered.

I dashed a bit of salt and pepper on top and covered with foil. I cooked it in the oven for 30 minutes at 375 degrees and Voila!, dinner is served for me and my Mr. Good Lookin.

And you thought it ended there… My husband and I can’t have dinner with out dessert hardly ever.  So I went back to my cupboards and fridge and realized I had all the ingredients I needed to make my wonderful friend KT’s easy fruit cobbler (P.S. She’s a master chef in another life, highly suggest following every mouth-drooling blogpost).  It was delicious and seriously the easiest thing ever, just like she said.  We used blueberries and here’s how ours turned out… (I think I may have over done it on the sprinkle of cinnamon, whoops, still tasted good though!)

And here’s how it ended…

We are masters of the Clean Plate Club!  Yum. So good, so stuffed, so ready for bed after all that.


Pesto Chicken

Adapted from: Kalyn’s Kitchen

(Beware: I threw a bunch of stuff in the chopper for the sauce and added things here and there until it tasted the way I wanted, here’s a rough estimate)

  • big handful of fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup parmasean cheese, fresh or store-bought
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • dash of sugar
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into thick strips


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash and dry basil leaves.  Cut stems off leaves. Set aside.  Mince garlic. Put basil, pine nuts, parmasean cheese, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil in your chopper (maybe it’s called a food processor, whatever, I call it a chopper or Mr. Ninja). Blend. Add dash of sugar. Blend again. Tweak sauce as you like. Grease 8×8 glass casserole dish. Cut chicken breasts into thick strips (I got 3 strips out of each breast). Use basting brush or spoon to cover bottom of dish with half the pesto sauce.  Place the chicken strips on top of the sauce.  Cover the chicken breasts with rest of pesto sauce, making sure all parts are covered. Dash with salt and pepper. Cover dish with tin foil.  Bake 27-30 minutes.  Cut into chicken to ensure cooked through.

Serve over noodles or rice or whatever you like. Top with additional cheeses if you desire.