Author Archives: jennifer

Vacation

On Saturday we arrived at our annual vacation spot:  Newport Beach CA.

It was raining, but that didn’t stop my kids from charging headlong into the ocean.

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Whether they preferred the water or the sand, they were so excited!

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I love the way the beach offers something for all of them:
waves to conquer, shells to collect, or just a massive sandbox in need of a king.

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I think you could say we’ve missed the beach.

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Except for our youngest, who doesn’t remember last summer.
She had some concerns about the enormity of the situation.

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But with a little effort, we loosened her up a bit.

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We even coaxed a smile out of her.

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By the end of the week, she’ll be charging right in without concern for her safety.
It’s going to be a great week!

Grilled Eggplant Burritos

These burritos were my husband’s request for his birthday dinner this week.
They’re packed with flavor and soooo delicious!

Start by rinsing 2 medium zucchini and 1 eggplant, then slicing them into long strips.
I double the amount for my large family.

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I usually do the zucchini first and the eggplant second because the eggplant will brown a little.

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Don’t peel the eggplant; just slice away.

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Place the vegetables in a large shallow bowl so you can marinate them.

For the marinade, pour 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 1 cup 7-UP or Sprite, 1/2 cup soy sauce and 3/4 cup lemon juice over the vegetables.

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Now chop 2 cloves of garlic and add them as well.

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Thinly slice 1/2 cup green onions to add to the mix.

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Now add 1/2 cup chopped cilantro and add it, too.

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Sprinkle on about 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger and 1 teaspoon ground cumin.

Mix it all up, then cover and refrigerate.  I like to let the veggies marinate for several hours, and I try to get them out and mix them up every hour or so.  That way they have tons of flavor when you grill them later.
Now, I think this meal is fantastic without any meat, but because he requested it and because I love him, I marinated some chicken tenders in the same marinade (same recipe, I mean; different bowl) for the meal.

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Cover and refrigerate that, as well.

Shortly before we started grilling, I prepped the rice.  You’ll need 1/2 cup cilantro, the zest of 1 lime, 1/2 cup sliced green onions and 1 or 2 cloves minced garlic.

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You’ll also want a couple of tablespoons of fresh lime juice.

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In a small skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and add the onions and garlic.

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While the onions are cooking, fill a large pan with 4 1/2 cups of water and add 4 teaspoons chicken bullion.

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Bring it to a boil.  When the onions and garlic look nice and browned like this, remove them from the heat.

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As soon as the water is boiling, pour in 3 cups of rice,

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add the green onions and garlic,

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1 can of diced green chiles,

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the lime juice,

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and the lime zest and chopped cilantro.

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Mix it up, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the rice is tender and looks like this.

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You’ll want to grab a fork and just start eating, but resist.  You still have vegetables to grill.  And the wait will be more than worth it.

Fire up your BBQ and put the chicken and vegetables on to cook.

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Grill the chicken until it is done.

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and the vegetables until they look like this.

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Remove them from the heat, placing the chicken in one bowl and the vegetables in another.
Cut the chicken and vegetables into bite sized pieces.  (Kitchen shears come in handy right about now.)

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Delicious!  And the vegetables look fabulous too.

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You’ll be amazed at how much flavor the eggplant absorbed.  It will be strong but tasty, and the more mellow flavor of the zucchini will balance it out.

Now for the assembly.  On a tortilla, layer rice then vegetables and chicken.  We top it with salsa and sour cream.

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Wrap it up and have at it!  You won’t regret it!

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Tip:  if you have leftover eggplant and zucchini, it’s tasty on top of hamburgers, too.  Good flavor.  But if your house is like mine, you don’t stand much chance of getting to try it.  Or, if you don’t want to make burritos, you can add some tortilla chips and serve it taco salad style.  It’s delicious many ways, but our favorite is the burritos.

Enjoy!

Grilled Eggplant Burritos

2 medium zucchini
1 eggplant
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup 7-Up or Sprite
1/2 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cumin

Rinse and slice zucchini and eggplant in long strips.  Place in large shallow bowl.  Pour remaining ingredients over vegetables and mix to marinate.  Cover and refrigerate 4 or 5 hours, mixing once an hour if possible.  If you want to do chicken as well, then mix another batch of marinade and marinate chicken the same way.

for the rice:
4 1/2 cups water
4 tsp. chicken bullion
3 cups rice
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup chopped green onions
zest of one lime
2 Tb. fresh lime juice
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 can diced green chiles

In small skillet, saute garlic and green onions in 2 Tb. butter.  Meanwhile, heat water in pan and add bullion.  Add rice, garlic, green onions, lime zest, lime juice, cilantro and chiles.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes or until rice is cooked.

Remove vegetables (and chicken, if applicable) from refrigerator and grill until done.  Cut into bite sized pieces.  On flour tortillas, layer rice, vegetables, chicken, sour cream and fresh salsa.  Wrap and enjoy!

Ice Cream Sandwich Dessert

Another birthday, another frozen dessert.  Hey, it’s summer and I’m pregnant.  I guess that baking cakes hasn’t been too high on my list.

This recipe is super quick and easy, but tastes great.  All you need are 24 ice cream sandwiches, a tub of cool whip (I know it’s not the real stuff, but consider how many fabulous no-bake treats call for it), nuts of your choice, and a jar of hot fudge sauce.  That’s it.  4 ingredients.  And about 10 minutes.  Doesn’t get much better than that.

Unwrap enough ice cream sandwiches to cover the bottom of a glass 9 x 13 inch pan.

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I usually have to cut one off a little bit for the last corner.  But that’s never been a problem because I usually have at least 7 volunteers clamoring to take care of the leftover piece.  I should say that I don’t usually use all 24 ice cream sandwiches, but my experience has been that they usually come in boxes of 12, so I buy 2 boxes and like I said, the leftovers get taken care of pretty quickly.
Next, warm up your hot fudge sauce just enough to make it spreadable and spread half of the jar over the ice cream sandwiches.

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Sprinkle some nuts over the chocolate.  Usually we like peanuts, but this time I decided to try chopped almonds for fun.  They ended up being yummy, too.  One person who tried it actually thought it was toffee, which made me think that you could use toffee instead, and it would taste great.

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Now spread half of the Cool Whip over the chocolate and nuts.

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Layer one is now assembled.  Just repeat for a second layer.
First ice cream sandwiches.

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Then hot fudge sauce.  I love the way it all starts dripping down inside the edges of the pan.

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More nuts.

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I should probably note here that my ten year old daughter grabbed the camera part way through the first layer and became the photographer for the remainder of the recipe.  And I must say, she did a pretty good job, especially considering that I didn’t bother to tell her what I was hoping for.

Back to the recipe.  Add one last layer of Cool Whip.

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We decided to drizzle some chocolate across the top since it was Dad’s birthday and we love him.

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Place in the freezer for a couple of hours and then serve.
This is a ridiculously simple recipe that my family has enjoyed for years.  I love that it can be assembled in minutes, and it’s also a great recipe for kids to help with.  And in case you can’t tell, I’m a big fan of recipes that can be prepped ahead of time.  Every time I serve it, people love it.

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Do you blame them?

Enjoy!

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