Cooking Chronicles: Lump Crab Mac n’ Cheese

image If you or someone you know is from the DMV (DC, MD, VA) area, you already know how much we love our blue crabs. No…seriously…it’s not a game. We eat crabs for breakfast, lunch and dinner – crab omelets, crab salad, crab cakes, crab stuffed salmon, sautéed soft shell crabs, crab soup…hell some of us even fry them! If you are a blue crab lover like myself, you can attest that adding blue crab to just about any recipe is guaranteed to cause an epic explosion of yumminess in your mouth. Let’s just call it a FOODGASM! (Keep your beautiful minds out of the gutter, people. LOL)

I decided to put a little twist on my usual mac n’ cheese recipe and add…you guessed it…BLUE CRAB. Now, the mac n’ cheese argument is a subjective one. Many claim to have the best mac n’ cheese ever; but what really makes it “THE BEST”?. My personal opinion? Your mac n’ cheese can only be labeled “THE BEST” if you use a variety of different cheeses. The different flavors from the cheeses, the creaminess and savoriness make the dish. Add some lump crab to the mix and you have my amazing lump crab mac n’ cheese. I used some of my favorite cheeses; however, feel free to use whichever cheeses stimulate your taste buds. I also switched it up a bit and used penne pasta instead of the traditional macaroni pasta. Check out the recipe below.

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Cooking Chronicles: Scrumptious Shrimp & Grits…My Way

1361061238206I am not a fan of grits, which is probably why I never had the slightest interest in them or a desire to try them.  Okay, so I’ve never even had grits up until a few weeks ago.  I just mentally wrote them off and never thought twice about trying them because they appeared to be very similar to Cream of Wheat, which I do not like – the consistency, the texture, the grittiness – it just turns me off!  Shrimp and grits is such a  classic southern-style dish with a delicious history.  The look of it alone makes my mouth water, but I could never get past the grits! I decided to stop judging something that I’d never even eaten and give it a try.

The U Street Corridor in Northwest DC is bustling with eclectic and unique restaurants, bars, lounges and boutiques.  It is, hands down, one of my favorite neighborhoods in the DC area and is filled with so much history and substance. Marvin, a classic bistro and lounge named after the legendary Marvin Gaye, is nestled in the heart of the U Street Corridor and has some the best food in the area.  I visited this gem a few weeks back and decided to step outside of my comfort zone and order the shrimp and grits appetizer.  I’ll just say, I am extremely pissed that I waited so long to try this dish.  It is AMAZEBALLS! The grits were extremely smooth and creamy, and the shrimp were huge, juicy and flavorful. The dish just came together so well.  I can’t believe that I’m just now getting around to this southern classic! Continue reading

Cooking Chronicles: Spicy Turkey Cheddar Melts

My spicy turkey cheddar melts are one of my favorite quick, easy and guilt-free sandwiches.  While in a rush to throw together a quick and easy dinner one night, I skimmed through my fridge and pantry, pulled out a few simple and fresh ingredients and ended up with this yummy sandwich.  These melts are an awesome lunch or dinner option.

I purchase most of my bread, fruits, veggies, cheeses and sliced deli meat from my local farmers’ market.  The fruits and vegetables you buy at your local farmers’ markets are the freshest and tastiest available. The fruits and veggies are allowed to ripen in their fields and are brought directly to you — no long-distance shipping, no gassing to simulate the ripening process, no sitting for weeks in storage. The farmers’ market food is as real as it gets — food fresh from the farm. The breads and cheese are all homemade and extremely tasty.

These melts are yummy  and fulfilling.  Hungry yet? Check out the recipe below! Continue reading

Green Smoothie Goodness

Hey TNC Fam! 🙂

Well, I’m back on my green smoothie kick. I ventured into the world of green smoothies a few months back.  I’d normally make them a couple of times a week for breakfast or as a quick snack in the afternoon.   I’ve decided to kick it up a notch and make it a part of my daily diet.  My main goal is to add more plant-based foods to my diet and green smoothies are a great way to increase your intake of fruits and veggies.  The health benefits are endless and they also can aid in weight loss.   Since I’ll be making them just about every day preparation is a MUST.  Each Sunday I plan to chop up all of my fruits and veggies, and place them in individual bags for each day of the week.  This week I’m rocking with a mixture of my favorites.  I loaded each bag with a mixture of some or all of the fruits and veggies listed below.

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Cooking Chronicles: Grilled Chicken, Fruit and Avocado Salad With Honey Garlic Vinaigrette

So, as you know, there’s always a story behind the food. While visiting New York City, my Love insisted that we check out a Cuban restaurant, Cubana,  where he’d previously eaten.  He raved about their amazing salads, and I must admit, the salads listed on their menu looked pretty impressive.  I couldn’t try them all, so I made a mental note to recreate a few and put my own twist on them.  🙂  My favorite is the grilled chicken, fruit & Avocado Salad with homemade honey garlic vinaigrette.

Ingredients

  • 2 seasoned grilled chicken breasts, thinly sliced
  • 10-12 fresh sliced strawberries
  • 1 avocado, seeded and sliced
  • 1 mango, peeled and sliced into chunks
  • 2 pineapple spears, sliced into chunks
  • 1 small red sweet onion, diced
  • 3-4 handfuls of spinach (or whatever leafy green you like)
  • Candied walnuts (optional)

Honey Garlic Vinaigrette

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp. honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Directions

Whisk olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey and garlic together in bowl and set aside.  Combine all salad ingredients.  Top salad with desired amount of vinaigrette.

This salad is soooo good with or without the chicken.  It’s light, healthy and fulfilling. The Mr. loved it!  🙂

*The salad pictured below does not include mango or candied walnuts.  I normally include both, but I didn’t have them on hand at the time.  This was still very yummy!

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Cooking Chronicles: Savory Salmon Croquettes

For all of my salmon lovers out there, here’s an amazing salmon croquettes recipe.  They’re sooooo damn good!  There’s really no other way to describe them.  I make these at least once a week.  Yep, they’re that good.  I’m not a fan of using canned or processed foods a lot, so I made a point to use fresh salmon, homemade breadcrumbs, fresh veggies and herbs.  This makes a big difference in the taste as well as the nutritional value.  I don’t play when it comes to my health and my figure! 🙂

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