Friday, July 26, 2013

Recipe Swap: Shrimp, Black Bean, and Pineapple Foil Packets

Okay.  I need to GET ON THE BALL.  This pregnancy brain thing really sucks.  It's about 10:50PM on Thursday and this post is supposed to be going live at 7AM on Friday.  And I have had an ENTIRE MONTH to make and schedule it.  In all fairness, I did actually make my swap recipe a couple weeks ago.  It was the whole blog posting part that I've been putting off.  Sometimes, it just seems like so much work...but enough whining for now.  I'm just being a cranky 38 week pregnant lady :P.

Anyway, this is the What's Cooking recipe swap hosted by Sarah at A Taste of Home Cooking.  The theme is Grilled Foods and I received a recipe from Jenna at Jenna's Cooking Journey.  You may recognize her as the guest blogger that brought you these yummy Oatmeal Carmelitas awhile back.

As for this recipe, I've actually made it before but it didn't make it onto the blog.  The reason for that was that unlike the similar Foil Baked Fish with Black Beans and Corn recipe which I adore, this one just lacked flavor to me.  I only share recipes which I and/or my husband enjoy.  But as it was a swap recipe, I dutifully made it again.  And unfortunately, it fell flat for me, again.  I love pineapples and jalapeno peppers and shrimp.  It really should be a winner in theory but you can't win them all.  I don't know what's wrong with seems to get such rave reviews by other bloggers!  Thanks anyway Jenna for having me give it another shot.  And dear readers, since so many others like it, you should probably give it a try for yourself  even if I didn't care for it :).

One Year Ago: Pasta with Grilled Plum Tomato Sauce and Magic in the Middles (peanut butter stuffed chocolate sugar cookies!)
Two Years Ago: Bob's Mexican Stuffed Chicken

Shrimp, Black Bean, and Pineapple Foil Packets

Shrimp, Black Bean, and Pineapple Foil Packets

  • 8 oz raw, medium sized shrimp (peeled, deveined) 
  • 1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed 
  • 1 cup pineapple, finely chopped 
  • 1/3 cup red onion, finely chopped 
  • 1/2-1 jalapeno pepper, minced (depending on the amount of spice you want) 
  • 2 tablespoons pineapple juice, divided 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin, divided 
  • pinch of salt 
  • freshly ground black pepper 
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro 
  • 1/2 avocado, diced
  1. Preheat grill to medium. 
  2. Rinse the shrimp and pat dry. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Set aside. 
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the black beans, pineapple, red onion, and jalapeno. Stir in 1 tablespoon pineapple juice, coriander, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon cumin. 
  4. Spray two large pieces of aluminum foil with cooking spray. Spoon half of the black bean mixture into the center of each and top with half of the shrimp. Pour the remaining pineapple juice over the shrimp. Bring the edges of the foil together and fold down, sealing well. 
  5. Place the foil packets on the grill, cover, and cook for 10-12 minutes, until shrimp are opaque. Carefully open the foil packets and stir the contents. Top with the diced avocado and sprinkle with cilantro. 
Source: Jenna's Cooking Journey as modified from PreventionRD

PS: It's now going on 11:10PM.  See, these posts don't just write themselves, ya know!  Ah this blog is a labor of love :P.

Monday, July 22, 2013

SRC: Cherry Cake

This is my last Secret Recipe Club entry for at least a month if not two since Baby Boy could be arriving at any moment now.  The fact that he could come anytime between today and 5 weeks from now and still be considered "normal term" baffles my mind.

This month I was assigned The Avid Appetite.  I love how personal she makes her blog as it's not just about food but also about her family (what a cute little one!) and travels, too.  I could have spent hours perusing but with limited time on my hands, focused on the recipes where I debated the Pretzel Crusted Brownies with Fluffy Buttercream Icing (and we all know that it would have become PEANUT BUTTER buttercream in this house!), the Banana Bread Smoothies (because I've been craving frozen treats with this baby!), and a Cherry Cake which was made as a SRC swap.

Ultimately the Cherry Cake won...but only because the sweet allure of cherries in July.  I try not to make a swapped recipe because I want to highlight something from the assigned blog but I just *really* love cherries and so it was calling me.  I substituted 0% Fage Greek yogurt for the buttermilk.  Also, I don't own an 8" springform so used a regular cake pan and just made sure to grease and flour it generously but otherwise stayed true to the recipe.

I brought this sweet little cake over to my friend Emily's house where we three women literally killed this cake.  To be fair, we were two nursing and one pregnant ladies :).  This is justifiable, right??  To satisfy my frozen treats craving, we served ours a la mode with Cincinnati's best...Graeter's  brand vanilla ice cream.  Soooo delicious together!

One Year Ago: Cold Avocado Soup with Sweet Corn and Bacon and Pineapple "Ice Cream"
Two Years Ago: Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies
Three Years Ago: Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Coffee Cake
Four Years Ago: Honey Lime Grilled Chicken

Cherry Cake

Cherry Cake

  • 1 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 1/4 c unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 c non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 12 oz. frozen whole sweet cherries, pitted
  • powdered sugar for dusting
  • vanilla ice cream for serving (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease an 8" springform pan with butter or generously butter and flour a regular 8" cake pan.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar.  Add Greek yogurt and mix until blended.  Add eggs one at a time.  Mix in the vanilla.  Stir in the dry ingredients until just combined.
  3. Pour batter into prepared pan.  Place cherries on top of the cake batter and then lightly press them into the batter.
  4. Bake for 40-45 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
  5. Let cool completely.  If using a springform pan, remove the sides and then dust with powdered sugar.  If using a regular cake pan, simply dust with powdered sugar.   Serve at room temperature and with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream, if desired.
Source: Barely modified from The Avid Appetite

Secret Recipe Club

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Caprese Burgers with Pesto Mayonnaise

It's Summertime and you know what that means...grilling!  And farm fresh veggies!  Hooray!

With the first red tomatoes of the season rolling in from my CSA farm share I decided to make a very simple burger that would highlight the super fresh flavors.  And when I say "I" made this meal I really mean that I sent my husband outside in the heat to go grill up these burgers :D.  Yet another reason grilling makes the's group participation from the hubby!

The original recipe called for sliders but we had a pack of leftover pre-made patties so ours were regular sized burgers.  Personally I think it works out better because the size of the tomato and mozzarella is a better match, anyway.  This was a great quick meal that will have you spending virtually no time to make and you can use any extra topper ingredients to make a fast Caprese Salad on the side.  For the salad, just layer the mozzarella, tomatoes, basil then drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vineagar.  Season with fresh cracked pepper and sea salt and you're good to go!

Caprese Burgers with Pesto Mayonnaise

Caprese Burgers with Pesto Mayonnaise


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Burger buns
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (As usual I used Fat Free Greek Yogurt instead)
  • 1/4 cup pesto


  1. Mix salt and pepper into beef (or if using pre-formed patties, season each side of the patty).  Place on a hot grill and cook through, flipping once.  Near the end of the grilling time, add cheese.  Cover grill and cook for a few minutes until the cheese is melted.
  2. Meanwhile, mix together the mayonnaise and pesto in a small bowl.  Set aside.
  3. Place burger onto bottom half of bun.  Top with tomato and basil.  Spread pesto mayonnaise on top half of bun.  Serve.

Source: I was Born to Cook 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Cherry Cheesecake Bites

Today I wanted to share a simple treat that you can make for your 4th of July celebration.  It literally took me minutes to put together and is a super cute way to celebrate America's birthday.

I've had these Cherry Cheesecake Bites bookmarked for quite some time but to add to the red, white, and blue festivity, I decided to try to dye my graham cracker crumbs blue.  Not wanting them to get too wet I ended up using gel food coloring.  If you attempt it with regular food coloring please let me know how it turns out!  And of course you could make them with naturally colored graham cracker crumbs, too.

I feel like most Fourth of July desserts feature strawberries and while that would be great as well, I went with cherries.  Because is there anything more American than Cherry Pie?

Looking for more ideas Summer recipe ideas for your Independence Day Celebration?
Cherry Cheesecake Bites

Cherry Cheesecake Bites


  • Fresh cherries (or strawberries, raspberries, etc.), washed and dried
  • 1/2 block (4 oz) low-fat cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Graham cracker crumbs
  • Blue gel food coloring (optional)
  1. In a small food processor (love my Cuisinart Smart Stick Hand Blender for this!) or bowl with electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and salt.  Transfer sweetened cream cheese mixture to a small bowl.
  2. In a small ziplock bag, add some graham cracker crumbs.  If desired, add a few drops of food coloring then seal bag and mix to combine.  Repeat until desired shade of color is created.  Pour prepared graham cracker crumbs into a bowl.
  3. Make sure cherries are dry then dip into the cream cheese then graham crackers.  Repeat until you've dipped them all.
  4. Eat and enjoy, taking care not to swallow the cherry pit!
Source: Barely modified from Oh, Bite It!