Recession Toffee

My friend Alexandra is living in London right now while she's in school and I know that this blog post will be right up her alley. We're in a recession, right? So, what better way to celebrate than to make "candy" out of normal things like saltine crackers? Seriously, I saw this recipe online and thought I would barf in my mouth. Then I thought about it some more and realized it might not be so bad. The salty/sweet combination is great and these could not be easier. Please enjoy!

Recession (redneck) Toffee

Saltine crackers -- you'll need enough to cover your cookie sheet, like 25-30
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped nuts (I used almonds)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Spray cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray and line with crackers
3. In a saucepan, combine butter and brown sugar over low heat
4. Bring mixture to a boil for 3 minutes and immediately pour over crackers
5. Bake in the oven for 5 minutes
6. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Spread chocolate chips so that they melt over the hot crackers. Then sprinkle with nuts
7. Cut and enjoy


My version of Insalata Florentine

A few weeks ago, Jason's step mom and her two crazy friends came to Nashville for a visit. Let me just say that these ladies meant business......drinking, shopping, drinking, eating, drinking, flirting with men half their age (not Jason's step mom of course, just her friends), oh and more drinking.

On their way up to Nashville, they needed to stop and get a drink....I mean some lunch. They stopped and Macaroni Grill, a place we haven't been in years. They brought back their leftovers for us and I sampled a wonderful chicken/pasta/salad dish. It was really an odd combination of flavors and textures. I easily found the recipe online. The tricky part was figuring out how to make this "Jason friendly."

I left out most of the good stuff like olives and capers and kept the dish pretty simple. It is really good though and pretty easy, so I think this one might be going in our summer rotation. See what you think and know that this is one of those dishes that you could add almost anything to and it would be delicious (i.e. roasted red peppers, olives, capers, nuts, shavings of Parmesan, etc).

Kyle's Insalata Florentine

1/2 cup Orzo pasta, cooked according to package directions
1 roasted chicken from Krogers, cut up into chunks
1/2 bag of Italian Mix bag salad (this mix has mostly radicchio, romaine)
1/2 cup - 3/4 cup of vinaigrette dressing -- use whatever you have on hand. I used O'Charley's Balsamic Vinaigrette and it was awesome!!!
Salt & Pepper

1. Cook Orzo pasta (8-10 minutes in boiling water, stirring occasionally)
2. Cut up chicken into bite size pieces
3. Layer chicken and greens in a large bowl
4. Drain pasta and pour hot pasta over chicken and greens
5. Pour dressing over everything and toss well
6. Let chill in the fridge for at least an hour before serving. This is the type of dish though that tastes better the next day.

Did You Miss Us?

Ok, I realize that it's been a while since I've had a post on here. Hear me out.....Jason had this awful new job where he worked the craziest hours every week. When he would get home at 11:30 p.m. each night, he wasn't very hungry. Let me rephrase that, he wasn't very hungry for anything other than sweets. So I had one of two choices: 1. Rename the blog "Eating with Kyle by himself on the sofa each night while watching Lifetime." (you get the idea). 2. Just hold off on the posts until Jason got a new job. Well, number 2 was the right answer and Jason begins his new job next week. So.....stay tuned for new updates from Feeding Jason. I can't promise that any of it will be any healthier, but that never stopped you before!!


My First Risotto

We love to watch Food Network, Top Chef, and sometimes we even watch Hell's Kitchen. On every show, someone is always cooking risotto. I have had it in restaurants and love it, but for some reason it seems really intimidating to me. Well, those fears are gone now. Tonight, I cooked my first risotto. I never played football, but to me, this feels like I just threw my first touchdown. That didn't sound right coming from me, but you get the drift.

I will say, that this is a very time-consuming dish. The recipe and pretty much every TV chef says you have to constantly stir this or it will stick and burn. It was really creamy and delicious and you could add or subtract any of the flavors depending on what you like. Jason actually thought this was a bit too lemony. So, if you don't like lemon flavor, hold off on some of the lemon zest. I hope you try this....you would really impress someone if you took the time to make this!!!

3 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 pound Arborio rice
5 cups chicken stock
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt & Pepper
Lemon zest (from 1 whole lemon)
Lemon juice (from 1/2 a lemon)
Splash of white wine

1. In a saucepan, warm the 5 cups of chicken stock.
2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat.
3. Saute onions and garlic.
4. Add rice to the butter, garlic, and onions and cook for 1-2 minutes to coat the rice.
5. Then start add 1/2 cup of the chicken stock to the rice, stirring constantly until absorbed.
6. Keep adding the stock 1/2 cup at a time....make sure it is completely absorbed before you add more. This is the time-consuming part.
7. Once all of the stock has been added, pour in the juice of 1/2 a lemon, salt, pepper, lemon zest and Parmesan cheese.
8. Hit with a splash of white wine and once that is absorbed, you're ready to serve.


Mom's Hamburger Casserole

Growing up, my mom would cook dinner for us every night.....maybe that's where I get this from. Anyway, she never took the easy way out. I didn't have Hamburger Helper until I met Jason (very telling, isn't it?). Tonight, I pulled out a recipe that mom would make for us all the time. It sort of reminds me of Hamburger Helper, but way better. It definately brought back some good memories eating this tonight....enjoy my mom's Hamburger Casserole.

Hamburger Casserole:
1 lb ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
Salt & Pepper
1 small can corn
1 small can tomato sauce
2 cans of water (just use the tomato sauce can)
5 shakes of Worcester Sauce (I maybe used 10 shakes)
3/4 of a package of egg noodles (not sure why you don't use the entire bag, but just don't)
Shredded cheddar cheese

1. Brown ground beef and onion in a large oven-safe skillet.
2. Add garlic and salt/pepper.
3. In another pot, cook the egg noodles according to package directions (about 8 minutes).
4. Once ground beef is cooked, add corn, tomato sauce, Worcester sauce.
5. Add cooked egg noodles to meat mixture.
6. Top with cheddar cheese and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Here's what the finished product looks like.....way better than anything from a box, and it's really easy. The Worcester is the secret to making this so good....that and all the cheese on top.


Homemade Granola

I love granola. I saw Barefoot Contessa make granola that she packaged and gave to her neighbors as holiday gifts (I Tivo all of her episodes). This could not be easier. I'm going to give you the recipe with the ingredients that she used, but you could add anything you want really. It would be a nice gift for co-workers....who knows, maybe I'll bring some.

Homemade Granola:
4 cups old fashioned oats
2 cups sliced almonds
1 cup shredded coconut
1 1/2 cups dried cherries (if the dried cherries are big, just chop them up a little)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup honey
2 teaspoons cinnamon

1. Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
2. Add the oil & honey....if you put the oil in the measuring cup before the honey, the honey will slide ride out.
3. Mix well and bake on a cookie sheet at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
4. Stir the mixture about halfway through to make sure it all gets browned.
5. Let cool and enjoy!


Shrimp Scampi

After tonight, I realized that we didn't have to go to Red Lobster for good shrimp scampi. This is one of those dishes that just seems really intimidating. It's so easy though!!! Like many of my other recipes, I got this one from the Barefoot Contessa. She recommends buying your shrimp fresh, not frozen if possible. I bought mine from the seafood counter at Publix....that as fresh as I can get, right?

In case you've never had shrimp scampi, it's a wonderful baked shrimp dish. The shrimp is swimming in butter, wine, and lemon juice and it's so good. If this is your first time making it or eating it, don't freak out over all the butter - it's supposed to be like that.

Shrimp Scampi:
1 lb shrimp with the tail on (I bought 26/30 shrimp)
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup white wine
Salt & Pepper
1 1/2 sticks of butter, at room temperature
4 teaspoons minced garlic
2 shallots, minced
1 teaspoon rosemary, chopped
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 egg yolk
2/3 cup Panko (Japanese bread crumbs) -- I forgot to buy these, so I used regular bread crumbs and they turned out fine.

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
2. Place shrimp in a bowl and toss with olive oil, white wine, and salt & pepper.
3. In another bowl, combine the softened butter, garlic, shallots, rosemary, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt & pepper, bread crumbs, and the egg yolk.....mix well.
4. Line your shrimp around the edge of an oval baking dish with the tail up. I used a glass pie plate and it was perfect.
5. Once all of the shrimp are in the dish, pour the remaining wine/olive oil marinade back over the shrimp.
6. Spread the butter mixture all over the shrimp (see the first picture below, this isn't pretty).
7. Bake for 10-12 minutes until hot and bubbly.

This is what it looks like before it goes into the oven. It looks like shrimp covered in bread crumbs and butter. Well, essentially that's what it is, but it will look and taste much better after it comes out of the oven.

Here's the final product. I served it over rice, but pasta would also be nice. For the rice, I cooked minute rice in chicken broth (instead of water). Once I took the rice off the heat, I stirred in garlic and 2 Tablespoons of lemon zest (I had some left over from the zest for the shrimp). This rice would be good with anything, but it really brought out the lemony taste in the scampi.