Braised Potatoes with Chicken

IMG_0266These braised potatoes are a classic European dish that I grew up eating. It can be compared to a stew because it is hearty with the tender potatoes, carrots and onion, and chicken and has a very tasty gravy. It’s a simple, one pot meal that can feed a big crowd. I like to make a big batch and eat the leftovers for lunch for a few days afterwards, but you can definitely make half the recipe. I do have this recipe posted as one of my very first recipes on the blog but I recreated that same recipe with chicken thighs, as my husband and I do not like to eat much pork meat. You can really use whatever meat you prefer, however keep in mind that beef needs much more cook time to get tender for this recipe. I came up with this recipe myself in an attempt to replicate a classic childhood favorite dish. Enjoy! 🙂

Braised Potatoes with Chicken {Yields a big pot, Serves 10-14}

Ingredients:

  • 5 LB Idaho Potatoes
  • 2.5 LB Chicken Thighs (Skinless/Boneless)
  • 3 Carrots
  • 1 Onion
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter (Unsalted)
  • 1 Bunch Parsley
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh or Dry Dill
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 3-4 Cloves Garlic
  • 4 Tablespoons Ketchup (Organic is best)
  • Salt/Pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mrs.Dash (or 21 Seasonings)

Directions:

1) Do the prep work first. Wash and peel the potatoes, cut them into about 1 inch cubes and put ina a big bowl of water. Wash and peel the carrots and shredd them, set aside in container. Finely dice the onion. Wash the chicken thighs and cut into about 1 inch pieces.

2) On Medium-High heat ( I did 7) heat 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil in a big pot or Dutch oven. I used a big Dutch oven that my dad gifted me from his recent trip to Europe! Throw in the cut chicken thighs, add salt/pepper and cook, stir every few minutes until meat is cooked through.

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3) Add 2 Tablespoons butter to the pot with chicken. Fill a tea kettle with water and bring to a boil, It should be about 2 Litters water, or you can use another pot.

4) Add the carrots and onion to the pot. Add the paprika, garlic powder, and Mrs. Dash seasonings. Add some more salt and pepper to the pot. Mix very well.

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5) When the carrots and onion become soft and cooked through, add the 4 Tablespoons ketchup. Mix very thoroughly.

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6) Add the potatoes into the pan but keep them on top! Do not mix with the meat mixture! This is important because you want to keep your potatoes steam cooking on top afterwards, not mushy and all mashed up. Add the 2 Litter boiled hot water to the pot. Just enough water to cover the potatoes. Add more water if needed. Cover the pot with a lid.

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IMG_02687) When the water in the pot comes to a boil, lower the heat to a low setting. ( I did 3). Keep covered with lid and cook for 25 to 35 minutes. Until the potatoes have cooked through and are tender. Meanwhile wash and finely chop the dill and parsley.

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8) In the last 10 minutes of cooking, add the chopped parsley and minced garlic cloves into the pot. Then in the last few minutes of cooking, add the chopped dill. When potatoes have cooked through and are tender, turn the heat off. Gently mix the potatoes and meat mixture, and enjoy! *Refrigerate leftovers in the pot (once the pot has cooled down) and to eat, heat up necessary portions in a small pot on the stovetop.*

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Chicken & Turkey Cutlets

IMG_0237These chicken & turkey cutlets are so tender and delicious! They are made up of ground chicken & turkey, fresh bread rolls soaked in milk, grated onion, spices, lightly battered in flour and fried to perfection on a pan in some olive oil! They are hands down the best cutlets I have ever tried! I got the recipe from my dear friend Lidiya. After we tried these at her house, I knew I had to get this awesome recipe right away! We normally have enough left for 2 or 3 days but with this recipe, the cutlets were all gone in 1 day between my hubby, me, and our son. If you have a bigger crowd, make double, Trust me! These are great for a sandwich with some fresh bread and mayo, or make a perfect main dish paired with mashed potatoes, rice, or buckwheat. I paired these with buckwheat and a fresh salad and it was the perfect combination. This recipe was a big hit with my family and will be on our monthly rotation menu for sure! 🙂

Chicken & Turkey Cutlets {Serves 3-4}:

Ingredients:

  • 1 LB Ground Chicken
  • 1 LB Ground Turkey
  • 1 Onion (Grated)
  • 1/2 cup Whole Milk
  • 2-3 Fresh Bread Rolls
  • 3/4 Cup Flour
  • 3-4 Tablespoons Olive Oil (For frying)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder

IMG_0233Directions:

1) Break the fresh bread rolls into small pieces and put them into a bowl. Add about 1/2 cup whole milk. Wait a minute until the bread roll pieces become soaked through and soft. Transfer mixture into a big bowl.

2) Add the ground chicken and ground turkey into the big bowl with bread roll mixture. Add the grated onion. Add salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Mix very well.

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3) Pour about 3/4 cup of flour onto a disposable plate (or foil). Using a Tablespoon measure out a heaping Tablespoon of meat mixture into your hand. Roll it a bit into a round meatball/cutlet shape.

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4) Place into the flour and then flip it, to coat both sides of the cutlet with flour. Make at least 4 Cutlets and put them in a disposable plate or on a sheet of foil (you want to make some in advance so you wouldn’t be in a rush making them when it is time to fry them). Meanwhile set a big pan with 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil on Medium heat (I did 6.0).

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5) When the oil heats up, place cutlets into the pan. Fry until cooked well and golden on the bottom side, then flip and fry the top side also, until well done and golden. I use 2 forks or 2 spatulas to flip and transfer cutlets.

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6) Set up a big glass plate lined with napkins or paper towels. Put the cooked cutlets onto the napkins/paper towels to drain any excess hot oil. Reapeat the same process with all cutlets. When you make space on the pan by taking out the done ones, add more cutlets. Add about 2 Tablespoons more Olive Oil half way through to ensure enough fresh oil to fry on.

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Serve with mashed potatoes, buckwheat, or rice. To reheat, stick cutlets in the oven on a sheet with foil on 350 Degrees for about 10 minutes. These taste just as great on the second day if preheated!

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Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

IMG_0120This tomato basil soup is creamy and dreamy! One of our new favorite family recipes. We get this soup all the time at Dean & Deluca restaurant and I really wanted to recreate the same tasting soup at home, so I did just that! This recipe requires very minimal ingredients so it is budget friendly and the best part is how fast it is to cook. With prep work and total cook time it only takes about 45 minutes! I made this soup for our friends and for a ladies night event at my house and both times it was a hit. Even my picky 5 year old loves this soup, with oyster crackers of course! Mmmm this soup is perfect for the cold and windy weather we have today! Enjoy! 🙂

Creamy Tomato 🍅 Basil 🌿 Soup {Serves 4-5}

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 Tomatoes (Peeled & De-seeded)
  • 1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 4 Cups Tomato Juice (Organic)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon Basil Leaves Spice
  • 1 Tablespoon Dried Basil Leaves (And more to garnish soup)
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter (Unsalted)
  • Salt/Pepper to taste
  • Oyster Crackers (optional, to top)

IMG_0116Directions:

1) Peel the tomatoes using a peeler. Cut them into 4 and de-seed them. Put tomatoes into a medium pot, add in the 4 cups of tomato juice. Bring to a boil, then cover with lid and let it simmer for 25-30 minutes.

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2) Transfer the cooked tomato and tomato juice mixture into a blender. Blend until it turns into a puree/smoothie consistency.

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3) Transfer the puréed tomato mixture back to the pot.

4) Turn the heat up to low-medium (I did 4). Add 1 cup of heavy whipping cream. Add the Italian Seasoning, Basil Leaves Spice and Dried Basil Leaves. Then add 2 Tablespoons butter. Sprinkle salt/pepper according to your preference, you don’t need much salt because the tomato juice already has salt in it. Mix, everything together and let it simmer for about 5 minutes, don’t let it come to a boil.

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5) Serve hot, with Oyster Crackers on the side. Sprinkle each bowl of soup with a little more dried basil leaves.

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Steamed Meat Dumplings (Monti)

IMG_0102These steamed meat dumplings are an authentic European dish. They require a special steam pot that can be bought at international stores or Asian markets. They are tasty and healthy. A bit time consuming to make because you hand make each dumpling and hand cut the meat and other ingredients that go inside the filling but so worth it! I fill these with small cubed beef, squash, and onions. You can do a vegetarian version by omitting the meat and filling with small cubed potatoes instead, I have tried it and it tasted great too! Or if you are short on time you can fill them with ground beef and chopped onion. Using store bought egg roll dough sheets saves a lot of time and it tastes amazing but if you prefer you can also make your own dough too.

Steamed Meat Dumplings {Serves 8-10}

Ingredients:

  • 3 LB Beef
  • 1/2 Squash
  • 3 Onions
  • 3 packs of Nasoya brand Egg Roll Dough sheets
  • Olive oil
  • Salt/Pepper to taste

IMG_0104Directions:

1) Do all the prep work first. Wash the beef. Then cut it into small cubes and set aside in big bowl. Wash the squash, cut half of it, peel the half, then cut it into small cubes. Peel and finely chop 3 onions.

2) Add the chopped squash, and onion to the big bowl with cut meat. Season with 2 Tablespoons Salt and 1/2 Tablespoon pepper. Drizzle some olive oil in it (about 2 Tablespoons) and mix.

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3) Set up a dumpling making station. I use a big sheet of foil and have a small bowl of cold water, a brush and the egg roll dough sheets.

4) Start making dumplings by laying each dough sheet out, adding in the meat filling (a heaping tablespoon). Then using the brush and water, wet the outline of the dough sheet. Connect the opposite ends and stick them together. (As pictured below.)

5) Using the brush rub some olive oil onto each steam pot layer before putting dumplings on each layer, and have some olive oil in a plate. Dip each dumpling into the oil to cover just the bottom and transfer it to steam pot. I put about 14 dumplings (Monti) on each steam pot layer.

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6) When you are done making half the dumplings, set the very bottom pot, filled a little over half way with water on high heat. When the water comes to a boil, add the layered steam pots with dumplings and cover with the lid on the very top. Turn heat down to 8.0 and Steam the dumplings for about 45 to 55 minutes.

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7) When ready to eat, transfer dumplings from 1 steam pot onto a big plate while leaving the rest of them in the steam pot (so they stay warm until ready to eat.) Cover and refrigerate left overs. To reheat, microwave for a few minutes, tastes good on the second day also.

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Garden Veggie Salad

IMG_0097This is not a recipe but rather a recipe idea. I first tried this salad at my friend Lidiya’s home when we were over for dinner and it was love at first bite! Since then this is how I always make my salad but Lidiya get’s the credit for the recipe. This salad tastes fresh with all the vegetables and light because instead of dressing I use Sun flower oil. It’s so satisfying, it can be a meal all on it’s own! The parsley and dill herbs add the perfect touch to this salad and are a key ingredient. Also this salad is great even on the second day if left overs are covered and refrigerated over night, it doesn’t get soggy like most salads and tastes just as great.

Garden Veggie Salad {Serves 2-4}

  • 1 1/2 heads Romaine Lettuce
  • 1 Small box Grape Tomatoes
  • 1/2 Orange Bell Pepper
  • 1/4 bunch Parsley
  • 1/4 bunch Dill
  • 3  Small Cucumbers or 3/4 Long English Cucumber
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Sunflower Oil

IMG_0099Directions:

1) Wash all the veggies. Chop everything up except the grape tomatoes, they are already small. Put veggies in large bowl and mix together. Finely chop the parsley and dill herbs and add into salad. Add some Sunflower Oil (About 3 Tablespoons) then add salt and pepper and Mix again.

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Left over salad can be covered and refrigerated, and tastes just as great on the second day!

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Baked Teriyaki Chicken Thighs

img_0083These teriyaki chicken thighs are a great option if you are craving some chinese takeout but also want to eat healthy too. I came up with this recipe idea myself and made it for dinner when we had friends over. Needless to say, they turned out great! You know The food is good, when people reach for seconds, that’s the best compliment to any chef! These teriyaki chicken thighs are super delicious, restaurant quality and best part is how easy and fast this recipe is. Just make sure you give it at least 8 hours or over night to marinate for best teriyaki flavor! Enjoy!

Baked Teriyaki Chicken Thighs {Serves 4-6}

Ingredients:

  • 8 Chicken Thighs (Organic, Bone in, Skin on)
  • Seasoning: Salt, Pepper, Garlic Salt, Montreal Chicken Seasoning, Meat Tenderizer Seasoning
  • Teriyaki Marinade & Sauce (1/2 Cup)
  • Korean Teriyaki Sauce (About 1/2 Cup)

 

Directions:

1) Wash the chicken thighs thoroughly. Pat dry with paper towels. On a paper plate or sheet of foil, season both sides of each chicken thigh one at a time. *Keep in mind the Teriyaki marinade and sauce both have salt in them so be careful with the salt and only use a sprinkle of salt. On one side only of the chicken thighs. Transfer seasoned chicken thighs to a big bowl.

2) Pour 1/2 cup of the Teriyaki Marinade & Sauce over the seasoned chicken thighs. Then add 2 Tablespoons of the Korean Teriyaki Sauce also. Mix well. Cover and let it marinate in fridge over night or for at least 8 hours.

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3) When you are ready to cook Teriyaki chicken thighs: Preheat the oven to 350 Degrees. Cover a baking dish with foil, spray the foil with an oil spray. Put the chicken thighs on the foil, leaving space in between each thigh. Bake on 350 Degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

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4) When chicken thighs are done baking, take them out of the oven. Brush the Korean Teriyaki Sauce to top each chicken thigh then stick back in the oven on the Broil setting (500 Degrees) and let it bake for about 5 minutes, this makes the skin very golden and perfectly crispy.

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Great served with rice or baked potatoes and a fresh salad!

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Veggie Marinara Meat Sauce

img_0074Last week I started a healthy eating journey. Not just a diet to loose some weight but a lifestyle change. Although I do work out consistently, I know that diet is super important too. They say it is 20% workout and 80% diet that matters over all. So I wanted to make some changes and be a healthier version of myself. I have successfully cut out sugar, with the exception of a few pieces of dark chocolate every once in a while lol, and am trying to stick to a gluten free, low carb food diet. However I am a big pasta girl and the day I was really craving pasta, I decided to use gluten free pasta which is a bit better and a bit healthier. Keep in mind that even gluten free pasta does have carbs in it but if I have a cheat day, may as well make it as healthy of a cheat day as I can right? I also wanted to incorporate some veggies into the marinara sauce. This veggie marinara sauce is tasty, healthy, simple to make, and goes great with pasta, gluten free pasta, rice, or buckwheat. Left over sauce can be frozen in a plastic container and reheats very well. That’s why I make this big batch of it and freeze half. When I am craving a hearty, veggie, not your ordinary marinara sauce this is my go to recipe!

Veggie Marinara Meat Sauce {Serves 12-14}

Ingredients:

  • 1 LB Ground Beef
  • 1 Large Carrot
  • 4 Ribs Celery
  • 1 small Onion
  • 1 Jar Marinara sauce
  • 1 Can Crushed tomatoes (28 oz)
  • Parsley (Optional, to top)
  • 4 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 TBS Olive Oil (For sauté)
  • Real Block Italian Parmesan Cheese (Shredded, to top)
  • Pasta of choice ( I used Glutten Free Penne pasta)
  • Seasoning: Salt. Pepper, Mrs.Dash, Italian Seasoning

Directions:

1) Do all the prep work first. Chop the celery ribs and carrot into small dice and set aside, chop small onion into small dice and set aside separately. Set a big pan on Med.- High heat (7.5) with just enough olive oil to cover the bottom of pan.

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2) When the oil in the pan heats up and starts sizzling, add the 1 LB ground beef into the pan. Mash with a fork and spatula to break it up into small pieces, season with salt & pepper. Add in the chopped onion. Cook until beef is cooked through and onions are soft and translucent. Meanwhile start cooking your pasta.

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3) Add the diced carrot and celery. When veggies cook through add in the marinara sauce and crushed tomatoes. Season with seasonings of choice. I used Mrs.Dash and Italian Seasoning. Mix, turn heat down to a lower simmer setting ( I did 3) cover with lid, and cook for 20 to 30 mins, stirring occasionally.

4) Add chopped parsley and minced garlic in the last 5 mins of cooking.

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5) Serve over pasta, gluten free pasta, rice, buckwheat, or mashed potatoes.

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Slow Cooker BBQ Beef Ribs

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These slow cooker bbq, fall off the bone, beef ribs are a delicious, fast, and super easy dinner for busy week nights. You just Do the prep work, slow cook for 4 to 8 hours, stick them in the oven on broil to crisp up the sauce and dinner is done! You can use pork or beef ribs. We don’t eat pork much, just a taste preference, so I used beef ribs. The other secret that made this recipe so great was using organic BBQ sauce, it really made a huge taste difference. This recipe was an experiment but turned out amazing and I will definitely be making this again!

Slow Cooker BBQ Beef Ribs {Serves 4}

Ingredients:

  • 2 Racks of Beef Ribs (Or Pork Ribs)
  • 2 Cups BBQ Sauce (Organic BBQ Sauce tastes best. 1.5 Cups for slow cooker and 1/2 cup to smother ribs before broiling in the oven)
  • Spices: Salt, Pepper, Steak Seasoning, Garlic Salt, Mrs.Dash

Directions:

1) Thouroughly wash the beef rib racks. Pat dry. Cut each rib rack into 3, so total 6 blocks of ribs. On a plastic plate or foil, season both sides of each block of ribs and set them aside. Turn the slow cooker on High if you want to cook for 4 hours or Low if you want to cook for 8 hours. Using a brush, rub BBQ sauce on each block of ribs and put in slow cooker. Cover with lid and cook for 4 hours on High or 8 hours on Low.

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2) When ribs are done slow cooking and falling off the bone, gently transfer them to a baking sheet lined with foil or a glass baking dish, rub more BBQ sauce ( about 1/2 cup) on top of ribs and bake on Broil setting in the oven to crisp up and glaze the BBQ sauce on top.

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Empanada (Fried Tortilla With Meat Filling)

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Some call these empanada’s, some call these chebureki, either way these fried tortillas with a meat filling inside are a great appetizer and snack. Could also be eaten for dinner. I made a batch of these for a Super Bowl party this year and they were a big hit! These are convenient to bring to a get together/party, because they can be cooked in advance and you just pop them in the oven to preheat them. I do have another recipe for tortillas with meat filling on the blog, but this is a lighter recipe with mostly ground chicken for the meat filling and an easier version. These are best served hot, and reheat very well in the oven!

Empanada’s (Fried tortillas with meat filling) {Yields 18}

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 LB Ground Chicken
  • 1 LB Ground Beef
  • 1 Onion (pureed in food processor)
  • 1 pack of Raw, Uncooked, Tortilla’s (Can be bought in refrigerator section in Costco, Walmart, a few other grocery stores) Should be about 18 tortillas
  • Spices: 1 1/2 tsp Salt, 1/4 tsp Garlic Salt, 1/8 tsp Pepper, 1/2 tsp Mrs. Dash (Or any salt free seasoning of your choice)

unnamed-321123Directions:

1) Put ground chicken and ground beef in a big bowl. Puree 1 Onion in the food processor (or shred it using a shredder) and add to the bowl of ground meat. Add the spices and mix thoroughly.

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2) Set up an empanada making station. I set up a big sheet of foil on the counter with the tortillas, the bowl of meat filling, and a small cup with water and a brush (to stick the tortillas together).

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3) Lay each tortilla out and fill with meat mixture, one by one. I add about 2 TBS of meat filling to each tortilla. Brush the outside of the tortilla with water using the brush. Stick both sides of the tortilla together and seal tight by pressing on ends with a fork. This also makes a nice rigid design. Set the done emanada’s aside. Set a pan with enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan, on Medium heat (I did 5.5) and let the oil heat up.

 

4) Once oil heats up and starts fizzing a bit, add 2 empanada’s at a time to the pan. Fry on each side until golden (about 3 Minutes per side). Have a plate lined with paper towels or napkins to put the fried empanada’s on so the extra oil would drain off. Add a paper towel layer between each 2 empanada’s.

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Serve hot. To reheat place in the oven for 10 minutes on 350 Degrees until hot and crispy!

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How To Cook Lobster Tails

unnamed-38947This is a simple step by step recipe for how to cook lobster tails. Besides crab legs, this is my favorite thing to eat! I was very nervous cooking them myself the first time because I thought it must be some long and complicated process, however lobster tails are by far the easiest things to cook and so quick. I came up with this recipe myself, and the lobster tails turn out perfect every time! I like to pair these with cilantro garlic green beans and simple mashed potatoes (you can find both of these recipes on my blog). My husband and I cooked this meal together for a Valentine’s Day date at home! We had a wonderful evening cooking together, enjoying the meal and good conversation, a bottle of our favorite wine, and ending the night by cuddling and relaxing on the couch watching a romantic comedy. We had a great Valentine’s Day date for sure!!!

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Lobster Tails {I made 10 (4.5 oz) Lobster Tails to serve 2 ppl, 5 each}

Ingredients: 

  • Lobster Tails
  • 1/2 pot Water
  • Spices: 1 tsp Steak Seasoning, 1 tsp Mrs.Dash (or other salt free seasoning), 1 tsp Salt, 1/8 tsp Black Pepper, 1/2 tsp Garlic Salt, 1/2 tsp Montreal Chicken Seasoning, 1/4 tsp Dry Basil Leaves, 1 tsp Dry Parsley Flakes
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 1/2 Stick Butter (to melt and use for dip)
  • 1/2 Lemon cut into wedges (to squeeze into butter dip)

unnamed-3546Directions:

1) Wash the lobster tails thoroughly under cold running water and set aside. Measure out the spices and set aside in small container. Lobster tails cook fast so first prepare the other food. We did mashed potatoes and cilantro garlic green beans (found on my blog) and when this was almost done cooking I started lobster tails.

2) Set a large pot, filled half way with water on High and bring to a rolling boil. When it comes to a boil, add the spices and bay leaves and let it boil for 5 minutes. Set a small pot with the stick of butter on a different burner to melt the butter completely, on medium heat, then turn off and leave on hot burner.

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3) Lower the heat to Med.-High ( 7.5 ) Throw in the lobster tails and cook them for 7-8 minutes. They will turn red the instant they are in the hot boiling water. When they are done cooking, put the lobster tails in a strainer, and drain out all the water.

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4) Serve hot in a big container or bowl with hot melted butter in small containers, and lemon wedges. Squeeze the lemon wedge into the butter, this is a great dip for the lobster tails! Enjoy!!!

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Look at this deliciousness!!! Mmmm Yum!!!