A Squared: September 2016

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Grilled Shrimp with Southwestern Corn Salad

Fall may be here, but if you're still soaking up the last few drops of summer then this recipe is for you-- it's the perfect way to enjoy the flavors of summer produce and the grill in one easy delicious meal!

I find that people fall into one of two camps when it comes to the end of summer: Either you can't wait for the start of crisp sweater weather and the end of sticky 90 degree days or you're mourning the end of beach days and the return of hats and scarves. I am most certainly in that former group. I LOVE fall and can't get enough of wearing layers, crunching leaves, and pumpkin-flavored everything. That said, we have been experiencing a bit of an Indian Summer these days and while I'm not loving the lingering heat, I am enjoying the warm nights that are perfect for dinner on the grill. And this recipe in particular fits the bill-- not only is it super fast and easy, but it has all of the light and fresh flavors of summertime.

Because corn is in season for such a seemingly short amount of time, I love to cook with it as often as possible during the summer-- especially on the grill. Grilled corn right off the cob is the base of this delicious southwestern-inspired salad, filled with sweet tomatoes, bright red onion, creamy avocado, and slightly spicy poblano that has a great smoky flavor from its own time on the grill. It's all topped by the easiest quick marinade for prepared shrimp: A combo of lime juice, Old Bay, and Adobe & Sazon seasonings lend bright full flavor to the shrimp. And they only take a few minutes to grill so dinner is done in a flash. Want dinner even faster? The Whole Foods fish counter was running a great deal the day I was there buying shrimp for this dish-- the shrimp was already peeled, deveined, with tails removed on prepared wooden skewers. Just marinate, grill, and enjoy!


  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • Juice of 2 limes, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 tsp. Adobe & Sazon seasoning
  • 1/2 lb. raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 3 ears of corn, shucked and silk removed
  • 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • Salt and pepper

In a large glass bowl, whisk together olive oil, 1/2 of the lime juice, Old Bay, Adobe & Sazo, and black pepper, to taste. Add in the shrimp and toss to coat. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Preheat the grill to medium heat.  Cut the poblano pepper in half and remove the membranes and seeds from the inside.  Spray the corn and pepper halves evenly with olive oil or cooking spray and season with salt and pepper.  Grill the corn and pepper until softened and grill marks appear, turning to make sure they grill evenly.  Remove from heat and allow the vegetables to cool enough to handle.  Cut the corn off the cobs and discard cobs.  Chop the peppers into 1/2 inch pieces.

Add the cut corn and chopped poblano to a large bowl. Next, add the tomatoes, avocado, and red onion. Pour remaining half of lime juice over the vegetables, season with salt and pepper, and toss gently to combine the ingredients.

Increase the grill heat to high. Thread shrimp on to prepared skewers and grill for roughly 2 minutes per side, until shrimp is pink and curled. Remove from heat and when cool enough to handle, pull shrimp off the skewers and if they still have tails, remove them.

Serve warm shrimp with the corn salad and enjoy.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Black Cherry Lambrusco Floats

Fall may (unofficially) be here, but it's still warm in Chicago so let's savor the last of the summer weather before it starts snowing, shall we?

And what better way to beat (and even enjoy) the heat than with a frosty cocktail? I'm partnering with Lindy's Homemade Italian Ice today to bring you an easy recipe for an adults-only float! When I mentioned to my husband that I wanted to make a cocktail using Lindy's Italian Ice, I started throwing out a few ingredient ideas like prosecco or limoncello and he immediately said "lambrusco!" Alex isn't much of a wine drinker, but he does love Lambrusco, a northern Italian red wine that is unique in that it's sparkling and served chilled. And once he mentioned it, it seemed like the perfect wine to pair with Italian ice for a boozy float!

Lindy's Italian Ice is available in 11 different flavors so it was tough to choose which variety to use in this drink, but I ultimately selected black cherry because I thought it's deep flavor would pair really nicely with the flavor of red wine. The recipe is about as simple as that: add of scoop of black cherry Italian ice to a large wine glass along with a few frozen cherries and orange slices and then float it with a healthy amount of Lambrusco and a splash each of club soda and orange juice. The orange juice adds a bright citrus note to the richness of the cherry and red wine flavors. And the sparkling wine and bubbly club soda fizz up around the Italian ice, slowly melting it into the rest of the drink as you sip... like you'd want from any good float!

These floats are the perfect cocktails to enjoy while we transition from summer to fall: frosty to keep you cool on these last few hot days, but with the rich flavors of red wine, black cherry, and orange, which feel fall weather-appropriate. As the weather gets cooler, you could even throw in a cinnamon stick or two and turn these into holiday-ready floats. So, grab a box of Lindy's and a bottle of Lambrusco and toast to the remainder of summer!

Ingredients for every 1 drink:

  • 3 oz. Lindy's Italian Ice - Black Cherry flavor (3 oz. = half of one individual cup)
  • 5 frozen (pitted) cherries
  • 4 1/4-inch quartered orange slices, divided
  • 1 Tbs. orange juice
  • 2 oz. club soda
  • 6 oz. Lambrusco

Remove one Lindy's Italian Ice cup from the freezer and gently squeeze the Italian ice out of the cup onto a cutting board. Slice the Italian ice in half and place one half in a large wine glass.

Add cherries and 3 of the orange slices to the glass. Top with orange juice, club soda and Lambrusco. Garnish with remaining orange slice and serve.

Editor's Note: Complimentary products were provided in order to facilitate this post. All opinions expressed herein are my own.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Celebrate National Breakfast Month with Nellie's & BELTs with Sriracha Mayo

It's National Breakfast Month! And what better way to celebrate than with me, Nellie's Free Range Eggs, a delicious breakfast sandwich recipe, oh... and a giveaway?

I'm sharing a recipe today that's perfect for breakfast (because it's National Breakfast Month), but that is hearty enough that it could easily be served for lunch or dinner too! This breakfast-y take on a classic BLT gets a little extra flavor from a few simple additions: a crusty ciabatta roll, a zesty homemade sriracha mayo and a sunnyside up Nellie's egg, of course!

Eggs are the perfect starting point for any delicious breakfast dish: a good source of protein, a versatile ingredient that can be used in sweet or savory dishes, and satisfying enough to create a hearty dish with or without the addition of meat. And if you're going to cook with eggs, make sure they are  Nellie's Certified Humane Free Range Eggs!  Nellie's Eggs are Certified Humane(R), free of antibiotics, contain no added hormones, and are produced by hens that are never caged and have access to the outdoors.

Nellie's is also a big supporter of small local and family farms, which will make you feel even better about celebrating the most important meal of the day during National Breakfast Month with them!

Now, back to these sandwiches... I LOVE a BLT! Crisp lettuce, salty bacon, and sweet and juicy tomatoes is such a simple and delicious combination of ingredients. I love adding a little zip to my BLT sandwiches and usually add a little Dijon mustard, but I created an easy sriracha mayo for these sandwiches that is spicy and tangy and adds an amazing layer of additional flavor to this sandwich. And a simple sunnyside up egg (with a runny yolk) really rounds out these BELTs and turns them into a tasty and substantial sandwich you can eat at any meal. And you may think that an egg is an egg is an egg, but look at the gorgeous color on these yolks! Nellie's eggs are the real deal and you can taste and see the difference.

Want to try Nellie's Eggs for yourself? Now is your chance! I'm giving away 2 coupons for free cartons of Nellie's Certified Humane Free Range Eggs today, so be sure to use the widget below to enter to win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  • 3 Tbs. mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp. sriracha
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice 
  • 2 ciabatta or other sandwich rolls of your choice, sliced in half 
  • 2 Tbs. butter, divided
  • 6 slices of bacon, cooked and grease drained off
  • 2 Nellie's Certified Free Range Eggs
  • 1 large tomato, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 6-8 butter lettuce leaves
In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, sriracha, and lemon juice until fully combined. Cover and chill.

Heat a griddle or large frying pan over medium high heat. Spread 1 Tbs. butter over the cut sides (inside) of each roll. Place on the prepared griddle or pan surface, cut side down. Remove after 3-5 minutes, once lightly toasted and golden brown.

Heat remaining butter in a medium nonstick pan over medium heat. Crack the egg directly into the pan and cook until the egg whites are set, 3-4 minutes. 

Spread the sriracha mayonnaise evenly over the toasted sides of the rolls. On the bottom half of each roll, layer lettuce leaves, bacon tomato slices, and one egg.

Serve immediately.

Editor's Note: Complimentary products were provided to me in order to facilitate this post. The opinions expressed herein, as always, are my own.
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