The Marinade Express & Giveaway!!

Let me share with you how this whole post came about….

I’m a food geek {not news right}

As such, I constantly search for products that pique my interest and THOROUGHLY put them to the test! Some pass…some fail….Some EXCEED expectation.

As I was perusing products one day, I happened upon this Marinade Express and it caught my eye. It LOOKED nice and the brief info on Amazon was enough to make me look into this product further. What I read on the Marinade Express Website had me VERY curious. If this little beauty could do everything it claimed….I was bound to be in love!

I’ve always been a “marinader” (that’s a word right?) and have always made my own mixes at home instead of purchasing them from the store. However, the Marinade Express PROCESS was new to me. This machine doesn’t just marinade it vacuum tumbles your food!

What this means is that the marinade is pushed into the very core of the meat/vegetable….infusing the product with flavor and moisture! Alright SOLD….I needed to test this thing :)

I contacted one of the company owners, Dan Neumann, and asked if he would have an interest in a product review. After a nice visit (I might be a talker), we decided on a review/giveaway arrangement and my machine quickly came in the mail.

Typically I’m leery of larger counter top appliances, as my counter tops are prime real estate! Not to give away my feelings, but the Marinade Express is firmly ensconced in my kitchen and has a force field built around it so nobody can pilfer my machine. Some close friends have hinted at it “oops disappearing”.

So let’s take a closer look at this….Here’s a photo I took shortly after it arrivedMarinade Ex smNow you’ll notice on the front it says GROVAC….This  is a reverse osmosis infusion and filtering process for food. This powerful process uses alternating water and vacuum environments to quickly infuse natural flavor, antioxidants and moisture deep into protein tissues. Sounds high-tech, but what does that all mean for ME?

The filtering process removes many impurities. This uncovers a fresher, cleaner taste in the food. The filtering process slows the formation of free radicals which are known to be a cause of cancer. It reduces up to 30 % of fat from fatty cuts of meat. Many unwanted chemical preservatives, additives, and other contaminants are removed. The process kills up to 99.5 % of bacteria, both the types that cause spoilage as well as those that cause food-borne illness. It is a safe way to clean fruits and vegetables to avoid peeling them and retain nutrients. The result is healthier foods bursting with pure flavor!

Ok…..SOLD Continue reading

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Breakfast Enchiladas

Sometimes life gets busy…like fo’ real busy!

Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays are ridiculous actually

The cosmos shift…planets align…chaos ensues

Those are the days where my oldest goes to work early, 12-year-old has competitive swim training, husband has late days, and homeschool science labs all happen in one gigantic cluster-wind of craziness.

I could go on….but it’s Tuesday and…AGGGGGG TUESDAY!!! {deep breaths}

Let me just get right down to it: We’re hopping from the minute our feet hit the ground, until we sit down for dinner. These “special” days require a belly filling breakfast because lunch is on the fly and we’re movin’!

These breakfast enchiladas happen a lot! This recipe makes a HUGE amount of food….Enough for 2-3 breakfasts for the four of us. Continue reading

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Chicken Pot Pie w/ Parmesan Herb Pastry Crust

{there’s bacon…..just so ya know}

This meal is one of my all-time favorites to make! It’s about the process….enjoying the steps….slowly layering flavors.

I make this when I want that dish that screams old-fashioned goodness. You can taste the time put into it and you allow your eyes to close when you take a bite. It’s THAT!

So here’s the deal: My chicken pot pie contains a couple of my favorite techniques, homemade pastry and from scratch cream sauce. If you’re new to these things….DON’T be intimidated. I’m going to walk you through it and there are pictures to help you as you go. I promise it’s not difficult and oh so very worth it!

The great thing about this dish is that it’s rustic. Rustic allows for imperfection and can almost be lackadaisical in style.

{my laundry room is rustic}

For this recipe, I’m showing my pot pie in the form of individual ramekins.

1.) They’re insanely cute

2.) Quantity control (or eat 2)

3.) I am obsessed with ramekins and scoop up any I can find.

If you don’t have ramekins…the filling and pastry are enough to fill and cover a 2-quart casserole dish.

The filling will allow for 6-8 ramekins depending on size and you will need to make TWO BATCHES of the pastry in order to avoid re-rolling scraps. I don’t like to re-roll this pastry as it affects the texture of the final product.

You’ll notice in the following pictures that I took a few extra steps to glam these guys up….I used a fluted rotary cutter to cut the circles for a fun decorative edge, and I also stamped some flower and leaf cutouts in the center of each circle. If you don’t have these gadgets….it’s totally cool! Just cut the circles with a knife and add a few slits to center of the circles.

OK….let’s walk through this, starting with the pastry! Continue reading

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Winners of the Fischer & Wieser Gift Pack Giveaway!

Thanks again to the folks at Fischer & Wieser  who have generously allowed me to give away TWO of their Flagship Gift Sets!

Each set includes:

The Original Roasted Raspberry Chipotle Sauce®
Mango Ginger Habanero Sauce
Charred Pineapple Bourbon Sauce

These sauces are FULL of flavor and can enhance any number of dishes!

The winners are……

D   A   N   I   E   L   L  E        W   I   L   L   I   A   M   S

and

G   I   G   I         C   U   C   C   A   R   O

Please submit your mailing addresses to modernmrscleaver@yahoo.com to claim your prize!

Signing Off,

Modern Mrs. Cleaver

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Caprese Zoodle Salad

Are you new to the whole zoodle, voodle, coodle thing?

What I’m talking about are noodles that can be made from many of your favorite fruits/vegetables. I have a GIANT crush on them!

Look at these little veggie noodles…..

Caprese ZoodleThere are many products on the market that will “spiralize” these faux noodles, however I use the Paderno Spiral Slicer and couldn’t be happier with it. It quickly spiralizes zucchini, carrots, cucumber, apples, and potatoes with ease.

This is a photo of my spiral slicer showing some of the different thicknesses you can achieve with this slicer.

Slicer SmallI will be showcasing numerous recipes this year utilizing this slicer.  If you’re interested in getting one of these Paderno Spiral Slicers, I’ve included a link on the photo above to the product on Amazon.

This Caprese Zoodle Salad is a lightning quick meal for those of you, like me, that adore caprese and all things packed with fresh produce flavor!

The recipe, if you want to call it that, is as simple as tossing the zoodles with your favorite pesto, adding some cherry tomatoes and bocconcini (small mozzarella balls) and sprinkling with fresh basil and parmesan cheese!

Enjoy

Caprese Zoodle Salad

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 4-6 salads

A fresh from the garden zucchini noodle salad that's ready in an instant.

Ingredients

  • 5-6 large zucchini, ends trimmed off
  • small jar of pesto
  • cherry tomatoes
  • fresh basil
  • bocconcini (small mozzarella balls)
  • fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • Optional: pine nuts and balsamic vinegar

Instructions

  1. Press the zucchini onto the blade of the spiral slicer and move the pusher up to meet the other end of the zucchini. Rotate the arm to begin making "noodles". Stop every few turns to remove the noodles so you don't end up with one gigantic strand of noodles. Repeat until all of your zucchini have been spiral sliced.
  2. Place the zucchini noodles in a large bowl and add 5-6 spoons of your pesto. Toss gently until combined.
  3. Sprinkle on grated parmesan toss again.
  4. Use tongs to portion the noodles onto dishes for serving, giving them a twirl as you set them on the plate.
  5. Garnish with cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, bocconcini, and additional grated parmesan. Sprinkle with pine nuts and balsamic if desired.
http://modernmrscleaver.com/2014/02/14/caprese-zoodle-salad/

Signing Off,

Modern Mrs. Cleaver

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No-Bake Chocolate Cheesecake Cups

Have your cups AND eat them too!!

That’s right….we’re making edible cups. Because we CAN and because I promised my son he could paint with chocolate. What’s a mother to do?

In an effort to keep this as simple as possible for my 12-year-old, I opted to paint with chocolate and vanilla candy coating (or bark) that comes in the handy melting trays. It allows him to heat and reheat the chocolate as needed, and allows me to keep a wee bit more control of the mess.

Once you start melting chocolate, you might find that LOTS of things get dunked, dipped, and decorated. We grabbed spoons and made chocolate stir spoons for cocoa. I also piped some hearts to decorate the tops of my cheesecake cups. Let your imagination run wild!

Start by melting your candy coating/bark…white or chocolate or BOTH!

Grab some foil cupcake liners and spoon some of the melted chocolate into the bottom of the cup

Spooning ChocolateYou’ll want enough in the bottom to paint up the sides….but you can add more if needed.

Use a clean paintbrush to paint the chocolate up the sides of the cup to the top, making sure to coat the entire surface. The chocolate will be semi-thin at this point and you might see through some areas. That’s OK!

Painting{There might have been a few reminders NOT to lick the paintbrush}

Paint about 12 regular size cups or 6 jumbo cups with a first layer of chocolate and set aside. (we did half white and half brown)

DryingWhile the first layer sets up….feel free to decorate spoons, pipe hearts to garnish or whatever you desire to coat with chocolate.

{fingers seem to be cool with the kids}

Spoons Continue reading

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Cherry Habanero Ribs & Giveaway

Let me start off with a bit of truth….

There’s a few things in life I can’t control {head hanging low}

  • The weather
  • Mondays…They happen….ALWAYS
  • Grills

As such, I’ve taken action to circumnavigate these hindrances as best I could!

  • I moved SOUTH
  • ??????
  • I married a man who I will refer to in this post as my ‘Cue Man

Now please don’t think I married the man just for his BBQ prowess….

{he’s also one heckuva Mr. Fix It}

He loves me for my bacon grease gravy so we’re even!

Amidst the two of our very busy schedules…there is one certainty. We will ALWAYS come together at the end of the day and enjoy a fabulous meal. Cooking/eating is an event in our home…a special time that MEANS something BIG to us.

When it’s time to grill, there is no lead role or star player…we lean on each other as supporting actors and create together. You’ll find ME in the kitchen creating the rubs, sauces, and side dishes…and you’ll find my ‘Cue Man doing his manly fire thing!

Without him, this recipe would just be sauce.

Now let’s talk about these ribs….Ready for shock value??

These dynamite ribs started with a jar of cherry pie filling!!!

{WHAT??}

Fischer & Wieser  sent me a jar of their Cherry Pie Filling to work with and I sat down for what I call my “creative time”. The process is always the same…I grab a spoon or fork, a pencil, and a piece of paper. After tasting, I begin scribbling ideas {looks like chicken scratching} on the paper without thinking about or editing my ideas. 

The first thing I noticed with this filling, is that it is NOT sickeningly sweet like I find most other premade fillings to be. The ingredient list won my heart….Missing were the “fillers” and “maskers”.

Here’s a photo of a cherry pie filling from another company {to remain nameless} that I took at the store:

filling

When colors are added to fruit…I get a little cranky! Do we need to add Red #40 to achieve a lovely color?

Here’s the label from the Fischer & Wieser Cherry Filling:

F&W

No colored #’s needed! Cherries the way Mother Nature intended….

{Back to my “creative time”}

Most of my ideas had me taking a savory turn with this product. Sure I COULD make a danish, tart cups, or any other semi-predictable dessert with this…..OR I could be creative!

I’m kind of a go-against-the-grain{er}

I decided on ribs with a sticky lip smoldering sauce. I’ll also let you know that turning this sauce into a lip gloss HAS been discussed. Sweet Smoldering Lip Gloss?

{I’d buy it} Continue reading

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Herbed Buttermilk Biscuits

Behold the power of the biscuit……

Herbed Buttermilk BiscuitsA good biscuit is like a vehicle….

They hold all sorts of “cargo” ~ Eggs and gravy, cold cuts, salmon and cream cheese…it’s endless

There are vehicles that just get you from point A to B…and there’s a Cadillac!

Those canned store-bought biscuits are the point A to B cars. They do the job…but you’d rather have a Caddy right?

When you see how quick these homemade biscuits come together, you won’t be banging another can against the counter anytime soon.

Seasoned with subtle fresh herb flavor, flaky and moist….trust me you WANT these!

I’ve heard from a friend who professes to have made biscuits that even a fireplace wouldn’t destroy, that the less she has to touch biscuit dough, the better off she AND the biscuit will be. Sweetie..these little gems are for you!

The shortening and flour mixture are pulsed in a food processor to avoid excess “touching”.

To my friend with dough touching issues ~ you’re welcome!

Herbed Buttermilk Biscuits

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 10-12 biscuits

Light and flaky biscuits seasoned with a subtle herb flavor!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh minced herbs (I used one small stem of rosemary)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, cream of tartar and sugar over the bowl of a food processor.
  3. Add the shortening and pulse until you see coarse crumbs. Do not over mix.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and create a well in the center. Add all of the milk to the well and sprinkle the chopped herbs in. Quickly stir with a fork just until the milk is incorporated. The dough will be very soft at this point.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and press together until it begins to hold shape.
  6. Knead ten times then gently press out into a circle that is 1/2" thick.
  7. Use a circle cutter (I like the ruffled edge cutters) and press straight down to cut the biscuits. Do not twist the cutter into the dough.
  8. Transfer the biscuits to a sheet pan covered with a nonstick mat. If you don't have a nonstick mat, place the biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet.
  9. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown on top.
http://modernmrscleaver.com/2014/02/06/herbed-buttermilk-biscuits/

Signing Off,

Modern Mrs. Cleaver

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Shrimp Po’ Boys w/ Slaw & Smokey Mesquite Remoulade

Sometimes I get right to the point…

Other times, like now, I want to tell a story. Those stories come from something that’s moved me in some way and I feel the need to share those moments with you.

If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you know that I consider myself to be an old-fashioned gal. With that comes an affinity for aprons, knitted afghans, mom & pop type stores, and homemade pastry.

When I moved to Texas a couple of years ago, it was with great pride and vigor that I took in the farmers markets, the country road eateries, and the family run companies that offered their goods at a fair price with fantastic customer service. The way things SHOULD be!

And that is where this story begins….

My family and I moved just North of San Antonio and immediately fell in love with the exploration of “Farm to Market” roads. Growing up in Alaska, I had never heard of such things and I found myself eager to discover where each road took me. My curiosity of neighboring areas kicked into high gear as I heard talk of “the peach and wine trails”. Another unknown to this Alaskan girl!

Texas had truly become a candy store for my heart…the winding country roads offering up breathtaking scenery, the weathered man at the farmer’s market who forever tips his hat at each customer, and the way people greet you like kinsfolk and wouldn’t have it any other way….I met each of those first days in Texas with a child-like naivety; so unaware that such things existed and so anxious to see more!

One of my “wanderings” took me up U.S. 87 en route to Fredericksburg. Just a few minutes before we arrived, my eyes locked on a log cabin to the left. Thankfully, my husband understands my desire to explore and after my quick gasp of excitement, he made a hasty turnaround and parked the car at “Fischer & Wieser’s Das Peach Haus®”.

Das Peach Haus

I was in love already! Quaint country charm and a name that appealed to my German heritage. This was me with a capital COOL. I took a short path to the main building that led me in and around flowerbeds and was greeted by a cat on the porch sitting by a rocking chair….all too happy with his duties as overseer.  Continue reading

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Chicken Caesar Salad

{warning….this post is a total compilation of unprocessed thoughts and gushing sentiments}

I heart salads

{big heart}

My waitress: Would you like a side salad? 

Me: ummm no, I would like a big girl salad please!

Wedges = cool salads…. AND shoes

{I warned you about unprocessed right?}

So when I picture a salad, I see none of those wimpy little imposters with a few strewn leaves and a drizzle of dressing.

A salad needs DESERVES to be more…. why CAN’T it be just as exciting as an entrée? 

Let’s focus in on this Caesar Salad of mine shall we?

Fact: I’m a rule breaker!

Fact: Traditional caesar salad does not contain bacon.

{see where I’m going with this?}

While I adore the classic caesar, I can’t resist playing with my food and revamping the classics. I included some typical additions, then added in some of my favorite flavors and WALLA….. MY caesar salad!

The familiars

  • lemon
  • anchovy
  • oil
  • romaine
  • parmesan
  • garlic
  • croutons

The optimizers

  • chicken
  • bacon
  • tarragon

While I typically condone substitutions and shortcuts….this is NOT one of those times!

The jaw-droppingness (?) of this salad depends on the key players being homemade. It’s so very worth it. Continue reading

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