Mojo Marinade – Mid-Week Mixers

Mojo Marinade – Mid-Week Mixers

We're settling down into the new year here on Words, Wit and Wisdom. Passing through Perfect is available now wherever books are sold. To celebrate there is a Big Bag of Bestsellers giveaway on my blog tomorrow. Today Naomi from The Pub and Grub Forum is sharing this great marinade. I'm eating healthy this year and cooking more at home so these recipes come in handy.
mojo marinadeNaomi says – I love Chef Aaron McCargo and have his book SIMPLY DONE, WELL DONE. I have pulled numerous great recipes from this book. This is one of my top favorites and I make this stuff at least twice per month during the summer months. It is fresh, flavorful and preservative free unlike the commercially prepared one found in grocery stores. Each batch makes 3 cups. I have used it chicken, pork and beef and it is just super yummy. I want to try it with fish, as well but simply haven't had the opportunity yet.

One of the ingredients is jerk seasoning that he has included the recipe. I don't use a whole lot of jerk seasoning so I simply purchase McCormick's jerk seasoning. The bottle is small and lasts me forever. Another note, the original recipe calls for 1.5 TABLESPOONS of salt. I don't like to use that much salt in my cooking, so I have cut that in half. Don't mind the salt, use the full amount.

Finally, the directions call for the ingredients to be placed in a blender and processed until smooth. I don't do that. I mix it up in a very large bowl. I like the chunks of onion in my marinade.

According to Chef McCargo, each batch will last one month if refrigerated in a glass container with a tight lid. Mine never lasts that long.

So here we go!

1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
1 cup FRESH SQUEEZED orange juice
1/2 cup FRESH SQUEEZED lemon juice
6 cloves chopped or 3 t. jarred garlic
2 T. Chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 t. Kosher salt
1 T. Honey
1 T. Jerk Seasoning
1 T. coarse ground pepper
1 t. dried oregano

1) Place all ingredients in a blender and process. Pour into glass container and refrigerate unused portions for no more than one month.

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Crock Pot Minestrone Soup – Mid-Week Mixers

Crock Pot Minestrone Soup – Mid-Week Mixers

Brrrr! I hope all of you really enjoyed the holidays and it's time for some winter weather to settle in. Naomi from The Pub and Grub Forum is sharing her favorite Crock Pot Minestrone Soup that might be just the change you need from all the holiday cookie and rich foods. I know I've made a New Year's resolution to pick up some new healthy eating habits.

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Crock Pot Minestrone Soup – Mid-Week Mixers

crock pot minestroneFrom: MORE MAKE IT FAST, COOK IT SLOW Stephanie O'Dea

Naomi says: This recipe is a classic example of why I love Stephanie O'Dea's cookbooks so much that she is my “go to crock pot girl”. I have every cookbook that she has written and make meals at least once a week from them. I have only found a very small handful of recipes from each book that I have said yuck to. When I do my meal planning, all of her books are front and center on my desk.

One comment that I will make in regards to these cookbooks that is a common complaint, not only from myself, but friends who are regular users of Stephanie O'Dea cookbooks, is that the actual cooking times are less than what Stephanie recommends in her cookbooks. Most of the time, this isn't an issue, but just be aware of that ahead of time. With this soup, because it is a soup, this wasn't an issue.

This soup was awesome and simple. I simply threw everything, but the pasta, in the slow cooker in the morning. After I came home in the evening, I added the macaroni to cook while I made the salad to go with it. It was PERFECT! It was incredibly rich and loaded with veggies. It made plenty enough that not only did we have enough for dinner, but lunches after.

I partnered this with a Caesar salad and Bread Machine Focaccia Bread. So yummy!

I made a couple of additions due to my love of tomatoes. I included a couple of cans of tomato sauce and an extra can of diced tomatoes. Plus, I felt that the broth was a bit too weak for MY likings and I thought this really made it pop. I will do my additions in red and feel free to choose whichever method preferred.

One other change that I made is that I used canned beans versus the dry beans that Stephanie called for. Using the dry beans required extra steps that I will cop to being too lazy to do. The canned worked fine and I will be using those in the recipe below. I used black beans because that is what I had in the house and I liked how small they were

On a last note: Wanna make it vegetarian? Stephanie says that vegetable can be switched out for the beef broth.

So, here we go!

8 cups beef or veggie broth
1 (14.5 oz can) diced tomatoes (2 cans)
1 can pinto, black, lima or kidney beans
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1 small onion diced (or 1 T. dried minced onion)
1 T. Italian seasoning (2 T.)
1 t. Kosher salt
1 t. coarse ground black pepper
1 or 2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
1 (10 oz) package chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1/2 cup dried pasta (I used elbow macaroni)
Parmesan cheese to pass at the table

1) In 6 qt crock pot, place first 8 to 11 ingredients. Cover and cook on LOW for 8-10 hours.

2) Turn crock pot to HIGH, add pasta. Cook an additional 30 minutes or when pasta is fully cooked.

3) Ladle into serving bowls and pass the Parmesan.

Mid-Week Mixers Recipe eBook! Sign up now to get this free!

Mid-Week Mixers Recipe eBook! Sign up now to get this free!

mid week mixers book cover

Mid-Week Mixers Recipe eBook! Sign up now to get this free!

If you're a regular visitor to the blog, you'll know about the tasty and delicious drink and food recipes Naomi has supplied from her blog The Pub and Grub Food Forum

Naomi graciously agreed that I could put the recipes in an eBook and make it available free to my newsletters subscribers. The sign up form is on the right side of the blog or you can click on Let's Connect.

Meanwhile, enjoy another of Naomi's recipes – Smokey Citrus Bloody Mary
smokey citrus bloody mary
Naomi says – Here is a little secret about me…I am cheap. I prefer to make dishes/drinks at home versus going to a restaurant, particularly if we will be having drinks with the meal.
On that note, Pat and I love a good Bloody Mary drink on a lazy Sunday morning I will partner them with a nice little brunch. Problem is that I can't stand commercial Bloody Mary mix, so I went on a search for a homemade one. I found this recipe on Allrecipes and we loved it. I made it the day before just to give the flavors a time to meld. The nice thing about this mix is that even though it made a ton of mix, we were able to put it in serving size packages and freeze it.
I decided to partner this with a citrus vodka. It had a sweet yet smoky taste to it. We also tried a plain vodka version, and it was awesome too. What I liked about this recipe is that I seemed it could be easily adaptable for a Bloody Maria which has a tequila base. We even tried it straight with no alcohol and it was pretty dang tasty.

Garnish these as desired. I like the “meal in itself” component of these drinks and will go crazy with my garnishments. I have used green onions, celery stalks, green olives, large shrimp, chunks of cheese, chunks of summer sausage, etc. I am reminded of that photo where the Bloody Mary is garnished with a baby cheeseburger, a chicken sandwich and a buffalo wing.

So, here we go!

1 (46 fluid ounce) can HIGH QUALITY tomato juice
1/3 cup steak sauce
3 tablespoons hickory smoke-flavored
barbeque sauce
1 teaspoon ground celery seed
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
Lemon wedges

1) Stir tomato juice, steak sauce, barbeque sauce, celery seed, garlic salt, cayenne paper and black pepper in a large pitcher.
2) Serve in glasses over ice. Add 1.5 ounces vodka and top with 4 oz of mix.
3) Garnish each serving as desired above.

Holly Wreath Cookies – Mid-Week Mixers

Holly Wreath Cookies – Mid-Week Mixers

Holly wreath Cookies
The great thing about a book club is the treats! Yes, we share and talk about great books but there are also treats!

We had such fun at the book club party. Lots of really yummy food and a fun game of writing a group story. Everyone added a sentence and let me tell you it got kind of raunchy for a while. told the gals if I start writing steamy romance I'll know who to ask for help. There were a couple of treats brought to the book club party that I had to share on Mid-Week Mixers. Here's the first one, Holly Wreath Cookies. Look for the other recipe next week!
book club party 2014

Holly Wreath Cookies – Mid-Week Mixers

Corn Flakes
35 large marshmallows
1/4 stick of margarine
1 tablespoon vanilla

Melt the marshmallows, margarine, and vanilla in a sauce pan. Once melted stir in a few drops of green food coloring. Add corn flakes until all the mixture is absorbed.

Scoop them up one tablespoon at a time and arrange in a wreath shape.

Decorate with cinnamon red hots for holly berries.

Mexican Shrimp Cocktail – Mid-Week Mixers

Mexican Shrimp Cocktail – Mid-Week Mixers

We're ringing in the holidays on Mid-Week Mixers with southern Holiday recipes. Today is Mexican Shrimp Cocktail sometimes known as Ceviche. You control the spiciness by altering the ingredients. I'll put suggestions in the ingredients in case you want to tone it down or spice it up all the way!

Mexican Shrimp Cocktail – Mid-Week Mixers

mexican shrimp cocktail
1 pound peeled, medium-size cooked shrimp, deveined and halved
3 plum tomatoes, diced
3 jalapeño peppers, seeded and diced (substitute mild green chiles)
1 small sweet onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chili sauce
1/4 cup spicy tomato juice (can use hot and spicy, or regular for a milder taste)
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons hot sauce (mild, medium, hot)
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish (optional)
1 avocado, diced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Tortilla chips

1. Stir together first 13 ingredients in a bowl. Cover and chill 1 to 24 hours.
2. Stir in avocado; add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with tortilla chips.

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