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Cottage Component 2!: Summer-Lovin' Sweet and Sour Skewers

Before we left for our cottage adventure, CK came up with a great plan for feeding us right: we adjusted a recipe she found in a magazine to suit our group's budget and tastes, and came up with this winner! The quantities on this one are rough, because it really depends who you're trying to feed - our menfolk ate easily three times are many skewers apiece as we did. That being said, we served 6 people for about 6$ a head (including the pasta salad). We made around 40 skewers with this quantity of marinade, but that included a bunch that were just shrimp, without veggies. These, as it turns out, are a big hit, so when you run out of veggies and chicken, begin skewering just shrimp, and you will be everyone's favorite.

Marinade: (Note: Because I don't eat chicken, we split up our shrimp and chicken into different batches, dividing this amount of marinate between two bowls, and divvying up the veggies accordingly as well)
Props to Remy: Our host and a master griller!

In a large bowl (you'll be putting your chicken shrimp and veggies in here too) mix together...

3 tbsp ketchup
3 tbsp soy sauce (try to get reduced sodium)
3 tbsp sugar
1.5 tbsp apple cider vinegar
 Skewer ingredients: 
  • 3 small zucchinis, chopped into rounds
  • 1 green pepper, deseeded and chopped into chunks
  • 1  red pepper, likewise
  • 1 sweet onion (we used the leftovers from the pasta salad), cut into chunky wedges
  • An orange pepper would be a nice addition too, chopped into chunks
  • 1 bag frozen deveined shrimp (ours was a bag of 60-70 shrimp) - if you can buy them uncooked with tails off, power to you. Or, you can spend a good 15 minutes taking the tails off these babies if you REALLY love your guests).
  • 4 chiclen breasts, cut into chunks

Mix skewer ingredients into marinade (whether you keep' em separated or not), and let sit for about 15 minutes. If you like your skewers really juicy, set aside a few spoonfuls to brush onto the cooked skewers. Skewer ingredients onto sticks, alternating meat with vegetables for as long as possible. Grill on the BBQ for about 4 minutes each side. Serve immediately. Pairs nicely with the Picnic-Perfect Pasta Salad!
Grill on!

Cottage Component 1: Picnic-Perfect Summer Salad

It's summer tiiiimmmme and the cooking is eeeeaasy here at Stute-kitchen :) Team Stute has returned from a fantastic weekend away at a cottage with good friends, gorgeous weather, and GREAT food. Combining our forces we came up with a delicious cottage-time lunch: pasta salad and barbecued skewers. Fresh ingredients and a new spin on these old classics takes traditional summer food to a new level of goodness.

You're gonna need:

  • Roughly 2 generous cups of uncooked shell (conchiglie) pasta
  • One yellow pepper, seeded and cut into slim chunks (or however you like your pepper in a salad), if you go really chunky, use 2 peppers
  • Half a cucumber, sliced into half circles
  • 2-3 stalks of celery, diced roughly
  • 1 pint (usually a container) of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 of a sweet onion (though any kind would likely do, this salad gets more onion-y the longer it exists, so choose wisely), finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
  • 3-5 generous handfuls of baby spinach (mixed greens will do in a pinch, but they don't keep as long once the dressing is mixed in).

Dressing: Whisk together...

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 heaping  tbsps Red Wine Vinegar
1 clove of garlic, minced
Ground Black Pepper to taste


Roughly 1.5 cups of light feta cheese -though really, add as much or a little as you like - , rinsed, dried, and crumbled (my new technique is to rinse the block from the brine, and then squeeze the liquid out in my fist, over the sink - this dries and crumbles simultaneously, then you can just brush your hands off in the salad)

To assemble:

1. Cook the pasta (roughly 8-10 minutes to get it al dente), rinse in cold water, and set aside.

2. Combine all your veggies, except the spinach, in a large bowl, using your hands to mix gently, being
sure to distribute the dill.

3. Add pasta to veggies, again, stirring with hands.

4. Add spinach by handful, assessing how much or how little you will want personally. Mix with hands (this avoids breaking the pasta shells)

5. Pour dressing over pasta and veggies (if you don't like getting oily, use a utensil here, but I swear, hands is the way to go)

6. Chill.
7. Crumble feta into salad before serving. Mix.

This makes roughly 10 servings, depending on the appetites in the room. Be sure to wait 20 minutes or so before hitting the lake!!!

Lasagna Recipe from a Bride-to-Be

One of my lady friends is getting married in a few months and her cooking is sure to please her husband-to-be! I've always wanted to try a lasagna but always hated the prospect of a very long preparation process. Lucky for me, her recipe makes cooking lasagna fun, healthy and faster than anticipated! :) Without further ado, please go to the store and get yourself:

- 3 1/2 tbsp of olive oil
- 2 packs of ground turkey
- 1/2 white of spanish onion (diced)
- 2-3 garlic cloves
- 1 large can of diced tomatoes
- 1 large can of crushed tomatoes
- 1 tbsp of Italian spices (unless your diced tomatoes already have Italian spices in them)
- 3-4 fresh basil leaves
- 1 small pack of sliced mushroom
- 2-3 handfulls of spinach
- 9 pieces of whole grain lasagna
- 1 full container of cottage cheese
- mozarella and parmesan cheese
- pepper to taste

1. Heat about 11/2 tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan and cook the packs of ground turkey, adding a little bit of pepper to taste

2. At the same time heat 2 tbsp olive oil to a large sauce pan and add 1/2 white of spanish onion (diced) and 2 or 3 finely chopped garlic cloves.

3. Once onions are brown, add 1 large can of diced tomatoes and 1 large can of crushed tomatoes (if you have the original diced tomatoes, add the Italian spices).

4. Add the fresh basil leafs, sliced.

5. Bring sauce to a boil and add turkey.
6. Separately, cook the small pack of sliced mushroom and the spinach on low heat in a medium sized covered frying pan. You can coat the pan with a small amount of olive oil to avoid sticking, but these veggies produce a lot of water when heated. Remove cover after 5 minutes. Cook until desired consistency.

7. Boil 9 pieces of whole grain lasagne (cooking an extra piece is not a bad idea)
8. Layer 3 pieces of lasagna over a thin coat of sauce. Over the paste, place a think layer of the meat sauce. Place 3 more pieces of lasagna over the sauce and top with the cottage cheese. Top the cottage cheese with the mushrooms and spinach. Place 3 last pieces of pasta and top with mozzarella and fresh grated parmesan.

9. Heat oven at 350 degrees and bake uncovered for 20 minutes or until cheese is golden and extra sauce evaporated.

Enjoy! It's absolutely fantastic!
- CK

Salads: Recipes for freshness

On my way back from vacation last week, I picked up a copy of this month's Women's Health Magazine and stumbled upon a great article about how to make good, healthy, refreshing salads. Here's a quick salad recipe I put together based on the suggestions from the article (While I couldn't find the electronic version of this article, I found very similar salad tips on the Women's Health website). I also found a very good honey balsamic vinegrette to top up the salad. It turned out filling and most importantly - delicious! :)

Ingredients (for 1 large portion):
- a few shrimp (I had about 10 small-medium sized shrimp)
- half an avocado
- 3 hand fulls of baby spinach
- 1/3 of red pepper, chopped
- half a tomato, diced
- 1 tablespoon of crushed walnuts

One simple step: Mix it all together!

Vinegrette Recipe:
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce

Wisk all together!

I only put about 3 teaspoons on my salad before eating, but you can easily cut it down to 2 and you'd still get the amazing taste. Refrigirate the rest so you can use it another time!


- CK

Summer-Friendly Light Veggie Dip and an easy fresh lunch

With local temperatures closing in on 40 after the humidex, the only appliance I want to use in my kitchen is the food processor. Likewise, this deep heat has me opting for effortless and cooling snacks like veggies and dip. Unfortunately, most store bought dips are full of lots of strange chemical compounds which, though delicious, probably shouldn't hang out in our bellies in too-large quantities. Luckily however, making your own veggie dip is easy, faster than going to the store, and ultimately probably even cheaper than the 4$ you'll shell out on something containing words you can't pronounce.

This dip is best if given time to sit in the fridge overnight. It's great on potatoes, (AND, I hear, steak) and probably on lots of other things. Right now I'm eating a bowl of baby spinach with a dollop of it: maybe it's the heat, but it's pretty delicious on just about everything.

In a food processor combine:
equal parts low-fat cottage cheese and plain yogurt (fat content of your choice - I'm on a full-fat low-sugar yogurt kick and am loving it)
as much washed and chopped fresh dill as you like (for a total of 1.5 cups of cc and yogurt, I used 3 tbsp)
a few dashes of onion powder or garlic powder or both, or none, to taste
crack some pepper in there and whip it up until combined!

Chill overnight.

Another great use for this dip is in a super quick satisfying cold veggie snack:

mix one generous dollop of dip into about half a cup of veggie ground round (meatless ground beef)
pour mixture on bed of fresh baby spinach, combine