Sunday, October 31, 2010

Healthy Zucchini Boat "Pizzas" and Two $50 Hormel Coupons Giveaway

Food Buzz Tastemaker Program sent me some coupons for Hormel meat products and samples of Hormel Turkey Pepperoni Minis.  I used the pepperoni for this healthy no fuss recipe that is cooked in the microwave. Cut up into smaller pieces, these zucchini boat "pizzas" can easily be served as side dish or appetizer. You can find the recipe and details for two $50 Hormel coupon giveaway at the end of this post (scroll down).

Healthy Zucchini Boat "Pizzas" 

8 zucchini, cut in half lengthwise (to create zucchini boats)
1/4 c carrot, finely diced
3 mushrooms, finely diced
1/4 c cilantro, finely miced
3 slices American cheese, finely diced or 1/2 c shredded sharp cheese
1/2 c Parmesan cheese
1/4 c green onions, finely minced
1/4 c Hormel Turkey Mini Pepperoni

Spray a microwave-safe baking dish with cooking spray.
Use a teaspoon to carve out a groove down the center of each zucchini boat.
To make the stuffing, mix carrots, mushrooms, cilantro, green onion, Hormel turkey mini pepperoni, Parmesan and American/sharp cheese. Feel free to adjust this recipe if you want more cheese or more pepperoni or any other ingredient.  Divide stuffing among the zucchini boats and place stuffed zucchini boats in the microwave-safe baking dish.
Microwave on high for 3 minutes.  Check if the zucchini is tender. Microwave again at short intervals till the zucchini is soft.  The zucchini "pizzas" will be VERY HOT! Let cool for a few minutes before serving. 

To enter the Hormel Coupon Giveaway:
Simply answer this question in the comment section:  What is your favorite no fuss, go-to appetizer or side dish?  You can also email your answer to: momgateway@gmail.com so I can get in touch with you should you win.
There will be two winners for the $50 Hormel coupons (Cure 81 Ham products).  Drawing date will be November 15.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Salmon and My Shiny New Toy

On Thursday, I was browsing for console tables on the CSN website when there was a knock on the door.  It was the FedEx man with a package for me.  I ordered a stove top smoker two days earlier so I was not expecting it anytime soon.  As I tore open the box, I discovered that my shiny new toy was inside! Yes!...and it was just gorgeous! Plus, there were samples of 4 wood chips (alder, cherry, hickory and oak) and a cookbook.  Could not wait to try it out so I rushed to the store to get some salmon to smoke for dinner.
The cookbook recommended using alder wood chips to smoke salmon but hubby and I decided we'll try the hickory instead.  At first I placed the smoker over our kitchen range. We noticed a little smoke coming out of the sides.  It did not bother me at all but I remembered that mine was not a high performance range hood.  So, we decided to bring the smoker outdoors and use it over my portable gas range. We wanted to smoke salmon, not the kitchen! 
We brought out camp chairs, drinks and snacks and spent the next hour just hanging out and enjoying the perfect outdoor weather.  Soon our dinner was ready.  I decided to place the salmon in the oven for a few minutes to cook it longer and keep it warm as I set the table.  The salmon was super moist with just the right amount of smoke flavor! Wow! I'm not going back to liquid smoke!

Smoked Salmon, Tomatoes and Habanero
              1 whole salmon fillet
              1 1/2 tsp salt
              1 tsp sugar
              canola oil
Prep the smoker by placing a tablespoon of hickory wood chips in the middle of the smoker pan.  Place the smoker grill over it. Blot salmon fillet with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. Drizzle a little oil on the salmon and rub the salt and sugar on the surface of the fish.  Sprinkle salt and oil on the tomatoes and habaneros.  Lay the fish, tomatoes and habaneros on the smoker grill.  Place smoker on stove top. Smoke salmon and veggies for 50 minutes or till the desired smokiness is achieved.  You may finish off the cooking in an oven. Serve warm and enjoy this succulent dish.

*I used habaneros and tomatoes freshly picked from my container garden.  This is my contribution to Grow Your Own # 46.

Monday, October 11, 2010

This Month I'm Hosting GROW YOUR OWN #46

Do you have a backyard vegetable garden?  Do you harvest seasonal fruits from your own trees?   Do you fish in your pond or a nearby lake, hunt game or forage for berries or mushrooms in the forest?  Have you received any homegrown produce or meats from friends that grow their own?  If so, please join us for GROW YOUR OWN # 46.  Created by Andrea Meyers,  it's a fun event celebrating what you've grown, fished, hunted, foraged or harvested from your own "backyard" anywhere in the world.  Come share with us how you prepare what's in season now in your part of the world!

How to participate:

1. Make a dish that uses at least one item from your very own garden or farm and post about it. Your garden doesn’t have to be big, container gardens are welcome! If you hunted or foraged, those items are also eligible. You can also use something that was given to you, but the giver must have personally grown or raised the item. If you paid for it, then it doesn’t count.

2. Anything edible that you have grown or raised qualifies, including fruits, vegetables, herbs, sprouts, edible flowers, nuts, grains, legumes, dairy products, eggs, livestock, fish, etc.

3. Please make sure your dish is posted during the month of October.

4. Please include a link to THIS POST in your GYO post.

5. Send me an email momgateway@gmail.com by October 31, no later than 11:00 pm (Central time) with the following information:
      * Subject line: Grow Your Own #46
      * Your name and location (State, Country)
      * Your blog name and URL
      * Permalink to your post
      * Attach a photo for the round-up (I can just pull one from your post.)

I'll post the round-up at the beginning of November.  Can't wait to see what you all share with everyone!

Monday, October 4, 2010

My Son's Favorite Brisket Sandwich

My son gets so excited when we have leftover brisket. He loves bringing home lunch to school and his current favorite is Grilled Brisket-Muenster Cheese Sandwich made with thickly cut brisket, pan-fried until the sides are crispy.   I like brisket with steamed jasmine rice but he prefers crispy, shredded brisket in a sandwich. This Grilled Brisket-Muenster Cheese Sandwich sticks to your sides.  It's spicy, hot and flavor-packed....Brisket + Siracha (a hot, red pepper sauce) + Bull's-Eye Barbecue Sauce makes a great combination.  We've been using Bulls-Eye Barbecue Sauce ever since our dear friend, Gary M, slathered Bull's-Eye on grilled burgers when they invited us for a barbie at their condo in Branson, MO three years ago!

Did you know?
Although brisket is a tough cut of meat, it has lots of connective tissue that gelatinizes and moistens the muscle fibers rendering the meat very tender when slow-cooked in a smoker, oven or braised a crock pot. It is a great cut not just for barbecue, pastrami and corned beef  but also for Korean and Chinese braised dishes and making beef bacon. How do you cook your brisket? How do you serve leftovers?  

Grilled Brisket-Muenster Cheese Sandwich

brisket slices (pan-fried then shredded)
honey whole wheat bread
Siracha sauce
Bull's-Eye Barbecue Sauce
Muenster cheese
Assemble the sandwich. Use butter or spray canola oil on the surface of a cast iron pan and grill the sandwich till golden brown on both sides. Enjoy!