Tuesday, October 23, 2012

New Favorite Pimento Cheese

This recipe is adapted from one I found on Southern Living's recipe site after perusing Pinterest.

1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup mayonnaise
1 (7-oz.) jar diced pimiento, drained
1/2 cup chopped jarred sweet-hot pickled jalapeno pepper slices
1 tablespoon liquid from sweet-hot pickled jalapeno pepper slices, chopped
4 cups freshly grated mild Cheddar cheese (1 lb.)
*My modification: half mild cheddar, half smoked cheddar...wowzers.
*And: Grate your own cheese...bagged kind is too dry for this recipe.


Toast nuts by putting them in a dry pan (meaning no oil or butter) over medium heat until they become fragrant. Note: Nuts can burn quickly so tune into your nose. When you can smell 'em, they're toasted. Cool for a bit (otherwise they'll melt the cheese).

Stir together mayonnaise, diced pimiento, chopped pickled jalapeño peppers, liquid from sweet-hot pickled jalapeño pepper slices, and toasted pecans. Stir in cheese until well blended.

Serve with red bell pepper strips, cucumbers, carrots, zucchini strips-whatever you love!

Tonight's Dinner

I typically buy the same vegetables at the grocery store every Sunday and figure out what protein or leftover I'll serve them with later. Running in the store for some ground turkey after work is easier than strict meal planning for me.

Tonight's dinner was particularly satisfying (and I remembered to photograph it)!

Burgers with Havarti cheese, caramelized onions, avocado, roasted mushrooms/broccoli

I had everything but the burger meat and cheese, so I grabbed that on the way home from work.

Indoor skillet burgers:
Medium high heat, 7 minutes first side, flip, 4 minutes, top with cheese to melt for a minute.

Caramelized onions and roasted veggies in another post.

Other additions you'll see in the picture. Grain mustard and BBQ sauce (my favorite burger condiment combo), and my new obsession: hot and sweet jalapeños. These are found with all of the other pickled items and I think they're technically a "deli sandwich" topping...amazing!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Things to do with Frozen Chicken: Buffalo It

Frozen chicken breasts kind of ick me out. But, did you know that if you stumble upon a crockpot recipe that calls for chicken breasts, you can use frozen ones? Benefits: you can keep them on hand for a long time and they are often cheaper than fresh. I'm sure many of you have had buffalo chicken dip (a new tailgating craze dish). This is similar. But a meal, not a dip.

4 chicken breasts (frozen or fresh)
1 jar Frank's Red Hot sauce (the recipe I am adapting from said to buy a 17 oz jar...no such thing at my grocery store...I bought a 24 ouncer...)
1 packet dry ranch dressing

Shredded lettuce or romaine lettuce to make cups, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, avocado, blue cheese crumbles, corn, black beans, chopped celery...the possibilities are endless.

Throw chicken, about half of the jar of hot sauce, and the ranch packet in the Crock-Pot and let it do it's thing for 6ish hours. Then shred the chicken with 2 forks, give it a taste-er-oo, and perhaps add a bit more sauce. I find that chicken soaks up sauces in a slow cooker super well, which sometimes means you need to add more at the end to keep everything scrumptious and moist (I hate that word. Please, someone come up with a synonym that still conveys the same meaning!). If you add more sauce, turn the pot to "warm" and let it sit for a little longer to allow the chicken to soak up Frank's goodness.

Enjoy a scoop of chicken on top of lettuce and topped with whatever your heart desires.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Parmesan Spaghetti Squash: Fall Has Arrived

I don't like being lied to. I've read several blog posts where people claim "spaghetti squash tastes exactly like pasta." Well, it doesn't. In fact, the only thing the two do have in common, is the spaghetti-like consistency of the squash after cooking...but it's still delicious and a great side-dish for fall! This recipe is a modified version of Emeril's dish I found on foodnetwork.com.

1 small spaghetti squash
2 1/2 tbsp butter
Grated parmesan cheese (green can stuff)...actually works better than freshly grated in this application
Salt/pepper to taste

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Using a sharp knife, cut squash in half lengthwise (don't feel bad if this is really difficult...because it is...just kind of shove your knife into the middle and try to cut it in half from the middle on both sides...). Put squash in a baking dish, cut-side down. Fill dish with water so that is comes about 1/2 inch up the side of the dish. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes, until squash is easily pierced with knife (though the skin). Turn squash over and cover/cook again for 15 minutes, until it's tender. Remove from oven, uncover, and let it cool until you can handle it (but don't wait too long or butter won't melt as nicely). Use a spoon and scrape out seeds and stringy stuff. Then use a fork to pull the flesh (gross word) away from peel. It should peel off and look like spaghetti (hence the name:)).

Put sqush into a mixing bowl, and add your butter. Mix so that the butter melts and coats squash. Then shake parmesan cheese all over and mix again. Taste and add some salt and pepper to taste. You will L-O-V-E this!

Variations: Add your favorite pasta sauce to make it even more pasta-like. Or try skipping the cheese and add fresh chopped hebs (this is how Emeril does it): basil, chives, sage, parsley.

Serve alongside your favorite protein for a fab fall meal!

Things to do with a Rotisserie Chicken: Greek

I love Greek food...but I never make it. I'm not sure why, other than that it intimidates me like Asian cuisine does...weird. Anyway, I love Tzatziki sauce (pronounced za-ZEE-kee), so I wanted a rotisserie chicken recipe where I could make some! Don't ya just love a recipe that is focused on how to get some fabulous sauce or condiment into your mouth and the rest of it is of second-hand importance? Listen, if making your own Tzatziki seems like too much, just buy some. Let's be honest, this blog is a place for my idea sharing and a housing for near carb-free recipes. If you leave this post with a "Greek" inspiration for dinner one night, I've done my job...

1 rotisserie chicken, removed from bone and sliced or shredded
1 white onion, sliced using your new mandolin that I told you to buy in my "Pimento Cheese and Cucumbers" post

Sauce Ingredients:
3 cups Greek yogurt
1 lemon (just need 3 tbsp of juice)
1 garlic clove
2 medium cucumbers, seeded (which actually means "remove the seeds"...seems backwards to me, but whatever...), and diced (direction below)
Salt (for cucumbers)
1 tbsp chopped fresh dill (no, you can't use dried here...sorry)

Peel cucumbers, cut them in half lengthwise, use a spoon to scrape out the seeds, and chop them up. Put the chopped cucumber in a bowl and sprinkle with salt which will draw out some of the water (an important step so your sauce isn't too watery). Go put a load of laundry in, or paint your nails, and return in 30 minutes to finish the dish. After 30 minutes, dump cucumbers onto a dish or paper towel and pat dry.

In a food processor, blend cucumbers, garlic, lemon juice, dill, and some pepper. Stir mixture into yogurt, and voila! (If you don't have a food processor, just get a whisk out and whisk together the garlic, lemon juice, dill, and pepper until well combined, and then add cucumbers.)

Serve atop chicken and thinly-sliced white onions. This would go well with some roasted vegetables, perhaps green beans with lemon and almonds...?

Things to do with a Rotisserie Chicken: Italian

I believe I'm addicted to pesto...I find ways to put it in anything that makes sense...try this warm pesto chicken salad. It won't disappoint.

1 rotisserie chicken
1 tub store-bought pesto
1/2 c mayonnaise
1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained (I like to chop the water chestnuts up as well but you can leave them in slices)
1 jar sliced sundried tomatoes in oil (the dried kind in a bag aren't as tasty)
1 block or ball mozzarella cheese, cut into bite-sized chunks

Take sundried tomatoes out of jar and put them on a few paper towels to drain off oil. Pat with another paper towel as well. They don't need to be completely oil-free, but if you remove excess oil, you will end up with a less oily chicken salad...

Remove chicken from bone and shred or chop. Combine chicken, mayo, and pesto in a bowl. Add water chestnuts, sundried tomatoes, and mozzerella.

Serve this with a salad, or to continue the Italian theme, see my "Parmesan Speghetti Squash" post.

Things to do with a Rotisserie Chicken: Mexican

With the school year starting back up, things have been super busy for me at home. Rotisserie chickens from the store have provided me a much needed time-saver for weeknight dinners. I have a few recipes to share. Leave me a comment if you are wanting a recipe in another genre, and I'll experiment!

Mexican: Chicken Tinga
*This recipe comes from my mom, I know right?! She doesn't love to cook, which I've mentioned before, but the few dishes she does make, she makes well :) I believe she first tried Chicken Tinga when a lady brought it to work...(right mom?)

1 rotisserie chicken
1 yellow onion, sliced or chopped (depending on whether you like the taste of onions, or more of an essence)
1 clove garlic
1/2 c vegetable oil
1 lb can crushed tomatoes
1 (7oz) can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (look in the Mexican section at store); you will use 1-2 peppers and the juices; pre-chop your peppers
1 small can (4oz I believe) tomato sauce (Mom likes the roasted garlic one...)
1 tbsp chicken bouillon granules
   *Ok, it is important that you buy the granules...and you can't find them everywhere. Look in the spice section of your grocery store. The bouillon cubes like you're used to won't work...tried them the first time and major fail. The granules look like yellowish powder, not wrapped in foil...

Toppings/additions you like: shredded lettuce, sour cream, black beans, shredded cheese, avocado, etc. (if you eat things like tortillas, this can be served on a tostada or in a tortilla, but it's great without!)

Take meat off chicken and shred it up with your fingers or a fork. Heat oil on medium. Add onions and garlic and cook until onions are transparent. Add crushed tomatoes,  chopped peppers, sauce from can of peppers, tomato sauce, chicken bouillon granules, and shredded chicken. Heat until mixture thickens.

**Note: My original recipe says to put the crushed tomatoes, peppers, sauce, tomato sauce and bouillon in a blender or food processor and process until smooth, but I don't really see a need for that step. Just makes sure you give your mixture enough heat time so everything cooks together, and you'll be fine!

Serve Tinga atop shredded lettuce and top with your fixin's. M-m-m-m.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Pimento Cheese and Cucumbers

This is seriously the best snack ever. Now listen...I'm usually all for buying things like cheese already shredded, and for most situations, pre-shredded works great. But not here. Buy the block and shred your own-it will make all the difference. I've read and tried about a dozen pimento cheese recipes. I also take a look-see every time I see pimento cheese on menus. There are variations (I've listed a couple of ideas to try below).

1 block sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 4-ounce jar diced pimentos
1/2 cup of mayonnaise
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon of cayenne powder (I actually add a bit more than this when serving on cucumbers...it can be a bit spicier when you have the cucumber to cool it down)

1 large cucumber

Shred cheese (fine grate), and mix everything together (except cucumber). Most recipes say to drain the pimentos, but I don't. I usually just go a little light on the mayo and pour the juices right on in.

Now, if you don't own a mandolin, GO BUY ONE. Not only will it actually make you like vegetables more (okay, I can't be sure about that, but it's just part of my sales pitch), but it is a huge time-saver, AND, it slices your veggies in perfectly standard widths. Who doesn't want that? Salads, sandwhich toppings, whatever. Consistent slices are always bettter!

Use your newly aquired mandolin to slice up your cucumber. Top each slice with a bit of your pimento cheese, and voila! Amazing, carb-friendly, snack.

"Fancy" Pimento Cheese: experiment with your cheeses. Try gouda, white cheddar, colby, smoked cheddar (oooooh!); anything creamy that you like.

Try halving the mayo and using some cream cheese. It makes the cheese thicker, which, if it's going to be sitting at room temperature for a while, say, at a shower or something, the cream cheese helps it all stand up a little better. BUT, if you plan on refrigerating it before eating, the cream cheese makes it too thick...just play around with it a bit.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What Does Carmelized Onions Even Mean?

This isn't really a recipe post-more of a technique post. When you cook onions, I'm sure you've noticed that often times recipes say something like, "saute onions until they become transleuscent," or "until they soften," etc. When prepared this way, onions (I'm mostly talking about yellow/white ones) retain their savory oniony flavor and texture.

But, if you cook them on med-high heat with a few pads of butter (works better than oil), and allow them to do their thing by moving past the transleuscent phase, they start to carmelize. And this means exactly what is sounds like: when cooked for a while in butter, the sugars in the onion begin to develop and they get that sweet taste and melt-in-your-mouth texture. Now, when cooking onions in this way, there really isn't a way to ruin them (they can cook forever and just keep getting more and more delicious).

A couple of applications for you:

Add red bell peppers to pan as well and caramelize with onions to make a great side dish, fajita topper, or steak accoutrement.


Serve with Zoe's Cole Slaw (another post) and grilled chicken.


Roasted Corn off the Cob

My husband LOVES corn on the cob. While I do like corn, the whole cobb thing is not for me. So...I prepare corn on the cob for him next to this recipe for me...same temp, same time, everyone's happy!

Corn on the cob (average 1-2 per person)
Extra virgin olive oil
Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put corn stalks (already shucked) in a bowl. Using a sharp knife, cut kernals off cob and into the bowl. Toss kernals with oil, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of pepper. Spread onto a baking sheet. Roast for 20ish minutes, tossing kernals a couple of times during cooking. After about 20 minutes, toss kernals with some parmesan cheese and put back in the oven for a few more minutes. Corn is done when kernals are caramelized around the edges. YUM!

Other uses/ideas:
Skip the parmesan and after roasting, put corn in bowl with black beans and avocado with a dash of balsamic (variation of my black bean corn salsa).

Use corn for topping tacos.

Mix cooked corn with softened cream cheese, and a bit of salsa to make a creamy corn side dish.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Ranch Burgers

Need a new summer burger idea? Wow. Add a packet of dry ranch mix you your meat. This will be your new favorite way to eat a burger. Delicious with some white cheese like meunster or pepper jack, avocado, and maybe some carmelized onions...mmm.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts-They Will Change Your Mind

Ok. I am being 100 percent honest when I say that I have tried brussel sprouts out at restaurants (I'm sure loaded with butter, etc.) and I pretended I liked them because I knew they were healthy-the truth is, I've hated them every way I've had 'em. Until now...

Brussel Sprouts (in the open container where you can get as many as you want, I try to get the small ones)

Extra virgin olive oil

Lots of kosher salt and pepper

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut each sprout in half lengthwise, or even quarter them if they're large ones (trust me, I've tried several recipes now, and most have you leave them whole...dont do it! They will taste brussel sprouty). I set them on the pan with the cut side up, and drizzle with the oil. Toss them around to make sure they're really coated, but face them all cut side up again afterward. Sprinkle liberally with salt and a little less liberally with pepper. Roast for about 30 minutes, give the pan a *tszuj, and let them roast for another 5-10. They shoud look brownish and crispy. Toss with some more salt if you need to and devour! And then post a comment if they changed your mind like they changed mine :)

Not sure how to pronounce that crazy word in that sentence? Check out below...ya learn something new every day! I always say this word...no idea how it was really spelled. Thank you urbandictionary!


To tweak, fluff, primp, improve, make fabulous (most often in wardrobe/fashion context, but others also apply).

Pronunciation: Begins and ends with the same "zh" sound, as in "measure".

Made popular by/notable people you may have heard use it: Carson Kressley of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Chef Nigella Lawson, Designer Ralph Lauren.

Origin: Variations used in many countries like France, Russia, Scandinavia, Germany, Australia, Canada.
"Just tszuj it a little, and you're set!"

Monday, April 9, 2012

Crockpot Sunday Brisket

This recipe looks like it has tons of ingredients, but most of the spices are part of spice sets that a lot of people have...

Ingredients: 1 tbsp of dried thyme
1 tbsp paprika
2 tsp pepper
2 tsp salt
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
3 lbs beef brisket
1/2 tsp liquid smoke (found near BBQ sauce in most stores)
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 c BBQ sauce (I love Sweet Baby Ray's)

Directions: Combine all spices in a bowl. Rub brisket all over with liquid smoke and then rub with spice mixture. Pour Worcestershire and BBQ sauce in slow cooker and put brisket on top. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 or on high for 6ish. You'll know when this baby is done-it will fall apart when you shred it with a fork. Later in the week: Make tacos (kind of)! Add shredded lettuce, avocado, cheddar, and whatever else you like. Or what about caramelizing an onion and adding some feta. Or eat brisket on top of Zoe's Cole Slaw (another post).

Roasted Broccoli

Broccoli (my husband and I can eat 1 head as a side dish)
Extra virgin olive oil
Parmesan cheese (green can stuff or finely grated)

Directions:Preheat oven to 400. Cut florets off broccoli (I cut the large ones in half). Put on a baking sheet lined with foil. Drizzle with oil, and sprinkle with generous amounts of salt and pepper. Roast for 10-15 minutes. The broccoli is done when the little buds look browned and crispy. Remove from oven and shake Parmesan over top. You will love this!

Roasted Green Beans

Ingredients: Green beans Extra virgin olive oil Balsamic vinegar Salt/pepper Directions: Preheat oven to 425. Trim green beans and put on a baking sheet lined with foil. Drizzle with oil, balsamic, and sprinkle with generous amounts of salt and pepper. Roast for 15-20 minutes. The beans are done when they are wrinkled and look like they've soaked up yummy amounts of balsamic.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Fresh Corn Casserole With Peppers and Jalapenos


8 ears corn (still in the husk)
2 red bell peppers, diced
2 fresh jalapenos, diced
1 cup heavy cream**
1/2 cup milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 stick salted butter, cut into pieces

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove the corn from the husks. In a large, deep bowl, slice off the kernels of corn with a sharp knife. Turn the knife to the dull side and scrape the cob all the way down to remove all the bits of kernel and creamy milk inside. (I do this inside the bowl because it goes everywhere if you cut it on a board.)

Add the red bell peppers, jalapenos, heavy cream, milk, salt to taste, a generous amount of pepper and butter and mix it well. Pour into a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Bake until thoroughly warmed through, 30 to 45 minutes.

**I made this recipe a while back, before I was committed to making healthy recipes. My eating plan really doesn't require me to calorie count (which is why I can do it :)), but if the idea of heavy cream scares you, try this substitute:
    3/4 cup milk
    1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted and cooled
    Mix the two together and add to recipe in place of cream

Before I wrote this post, I did some research about the nutritional facts for heavy cream vs. this substitute:
1 cup of heavy cream can have anywhere from 800-900 calories
For the substitute listed above, www.cdkitchens.com cites 41 calories prepared

Now, because I am not a nutritionist, I'm sharing these numbers with the disclaimer that they may not be perfect. However, even if my estimates are off by quite a margin, there still seems to be a huge caloric difference between the two...so, it's for you to decide which to use.

Lastly, from my experience using substitutes, the consistency may not turn out exactly the same as it would otherwise. But in a casserole like this, it's not a big deal if it's a bit soupier, in my opinion.

Spiced-Up Corn on the Cob

Vegetables, while I love most of them prepared fairly simply, sometimes its fun to spice things up. Here's a recipe I modified from the Neelys on Food Network.

4 ears sweet corn, husked and silks removed
2 tablespoons olive oil
Seasoning salt (I use Lawrey's)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 lime, juiced, plus 1 lime, quartered, for garnish
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup crumbled Feta or Cotija cheese

Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Rub the corn with olive oil and season with seasoning salt, to taste. Grill the corn until it's charred, on all sides, rotating for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the mayonnaise, chili powder, cayenne, lime juice and salt and pepper, to taste, together in a small bowl. Remove the corn from the grill and brush the hot corn with the mayonnaise mixture. Arrange on a platter and sprinkle with the feta cheese. Serve with lime wedges on the side.

Notes about the cheese: Feta and Cotija cheeses taste completely different. While both salty, the Cotija has less of a briny taste. If you're not a fan of Feta, definitely try Cotija-if you like both, then you have just been gifted two recipes for the price of one. :)

Modifications: Try brushing the corn with garlic butter* rather than the mayo mixture and then sprinkling with parmesan cheese rather than feta or cotija.

*Zap some butter and minced garlic (I use the stuff in the jar because it's less potent for this application) in the microwave for a few seconds. The heat will infuse the garlic into the butter nicely.

Not firing up the grill? Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat each ear of corn in either the mayo mixture, or butter and wrap individually in foil. Roast until hot and steaming, about 25 minutes. Unwrap corn and sprinkle with whatever cheese you are using.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Delicious Barbeque Sausage

This recipe comes from a request by my husband for "some meat." He has been trying to cut out bread, etc. so he was really needing a manly meat dish. But, since I'm the cook, I had control over the healthiness. :) I ended up loving this meaty meal just as much as he did.

2 pkgs lean barbeque sausage, any flavor you like (I used a good quality, all-beef, cheddar/jalapeno)
Your favorite barbeque sauce (mine's Sweet Baby Ray's)
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow onion

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut sausages into 2 inch pieces, and slice onion and pepper into strips. Put all of this in a 9 x 13 baking dish, cover the ingredients with barbeque sauce, and toss to coat everything. The amount of sauce you use is up to you, the more you add, the more you'll have to spoon over the top of your meal later. :)

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until sauce looks nice and thick.

Notes: I think I may try switching the veggies out for some bbq beans sometime. This would be a fun take on the classic hotdog/baked beans summer favorite. 

I served this with a fresh salad. It would also be great with coleslaw (see recipes found on other posts).

Pizza-You Heard Me!

I am always on the search for carb-friendly recipes that satisfy my craving for my favorite comfort foods-in this case, PIZZA! Man have I got a recipe for you. This recipe comes my way via my Aunt Buddy. She has been committed to a much more aggressive eating plan than me, so I modified her recipe slightly to fit my regimen.

This recipe makes 1 personal pizza.

1 cup finely chopped cauliflower (break flourettes off and pulse in food processor until finely chopped)
1/4 cup Egg Beaters-I never use these but I thought I should go with what the inspiration recipe used
1/2 cup finely shredded mozzerella or Mexican four cheese blend (four cheese makes firmer crust)
Italian seasoning ( a few dashes)
Salt/pepper (a pinch of each)
Foil pie pans (you'll need one pan per pizza)
Any pizza toppings you like: sauce, cheese, turkey pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms-whatever you crave

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray foil pie pan with Pam. Mix the Egg Beaters, cheese, chopped cauliflower, italian seasoning, salt/pepper, in a bowl. Put the mixture in the prepared pan and press it down with the back of the spoon, so it's packed down and evenly distributed. Bake crust for 15-20 minutes, or until it's starting to brown. Then flip the crust and cook for 10-15 more minutes, or until nicely browned and firm.

Add toppings to pizza and then put back in the oven on Broil for a few minutes just to melt the cheese.


The crust is almost firm enough to pick up and eat like a regular piece of pizza. I may add a few more minutes to my cook time next go 'round to see if I can get it even firmer.

Notes: I made 2 crusts using a half of a head of cauliflower (which means I have the other half to use for roasted cauliflower later in the week-find that recipe on another post).

Next time I'm going to try using egg whites rather than Beaters to see how it turns out. Also, the original recipe said that you can use the same mixture, roll it into thin logs and bake on a cookie sheet, and wind up with a breadstick-like thing. I can't see exactly how that would work, but if someone wants to try it, let me know how it turns out!

Variations I am definitely going to try:
-Sauceless "white pizza" with mozzerela, ricotta, and mushrooms
-Pesto and sundried tomatoes
-Southwest style with taco meat, cheddar cheese and roasted red bell peppers

Friday, March 16, 2012

Wilted Spinach with Feta and Balsamic

Fact: Being fancy and eating fancy doesn't mean knowing what the heck you're actually doing in the kitchen. Thank you Google!

The other day I said, "Self, you should impress your grandparents friends (and five star diners) with a balsamic reduction as part of the meal you are serving them." Then Self said, "But you don't know how to make a balsamic reduction." So I replied, "Ah, but Google does..."

And here we are:

1 c balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
About 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
A couple of handfuls of spinach (or a bag if that's how you buy it)
1 pkg feta

Put the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan on the stove over low heat. Let it do it's thing for a couple of hours-yes, you heard me-hours. Walk away. The balsamic vinegar will reduce ever so slowly, resulting in a syrupy, thick, sweet, reduction. This can be put on anything from a steak, to my Pesto Caprese Chicken (another post), to roasted vegetables (several other posts). When the reduction has been working for a couple of hours, start to check it out by swirling it around the pan. If it seems too thick, add a little water, no prob. When it seems like a nice syrupy consistency, remove it from the heat.

Put the spinach in a bowl. Heat 2 tbsp of the oil  (a couple of swirls-I never measure stuff like this) in a pan over medium heat. Saute the garlic and shallot for a few minutes, until the shallots take on a nice color. Transfer to the bowl with the spinach. Keeping the pan off the heat, add a few more swirls of oil (remaining 3 tbsp, if you're measuring), and add the feta. Stir the feta to melt it a little for about a minute. Add some salt and pepper to the pan, and then pour over the spinach. Toss everything to wilt the spinach slightly. AND NOW...Drizzle your balsamic reduction over the bowl (or, if you're fancy, over each plate once the salad is plated), using a spoon. VOILA!

***Add some roasted veggies on top of this salad for a delicious side dish. 

Roasted Carrots and Radishes

Back from California and ready to add some recipes! This one is a morph of one of my other roasted vegetable recipes on an earlier post.

Roasted radishes! YUUUUUUM! Here's the best part: I made this for a dinner party my grandparents and I hosted, and everyone thought they were potatoes. So in a low-carb-girl's world, that is code for awesomeness.

1 pkg baby carrots
1 bunch radishes
Dried thyme, oregano, italian seasoning, or whatever you have on hand
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 450. Cut stems off radishes (or leave them on if you're feeling fancy). Toss radishes and carrots with a couple of tablespoons of oil, a teaspoon (or, if you're like me, a couple of shakes) of your chosen dried herb, and a couple of pinches of salt and pepper. Roast on a baking sheet for about 20 minutes, or until you can stick a fork in a radish with ease.

**Serve alone as a side dish, or atop some warm wilted spinach with parmesan and a balsamic reduction (recipe on another post)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Edamame with Ground Pork

Olive Oil
8 oz ground pork
1 onion, chopped
1Tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 c chopped tomatoes (I use sundried instead-purchase in oil, drain and pat dry) 2 c shelled edamame
Cilantro (garnish)

Directions: In 2 Tbsp olive oil, cook 8 ounces of ground pork until brown and crisp. Remove pork from the pan and pour off all but 2 Tbsp fat. In same pan, cook a chopped onion and 1 Tbsp minced garlic until soft, about 3 minutes. Add 1 tsp ground cumin and 1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes; cook for 10 minutes. Stir in 2 cups shelled edamame and cook until tender (about 8 minutes). Return pork to the pan, season with salt and pepper, and garnish with cilantro.

Variations: try breakfast sausage instead of plain ground pork (skip addition of cumin), or swap out fresh tomatoes (because I hate them) for sundried :)

Monday, February 27, 2012

An Everyday Salad That You'll Crave Everyday

I decided to post the ingredients for the salad I make most nights. Under the ingredients, I listed what you'll need at the store. You obviously won't use all of everything each time, but that was just the easiest way for me to share this recipe with you.

Either baby spinach, romaine, or butter lettuce. Want more info on these varieties? See my note below.
1 pkg Honey Roasted almonds (found in produce section at Albertson's and Tom Thumb)
1 avocado (this you will use up, so if you want to make this more than once in a week, buy more avocados)
1 pkg feta cheese
Flavored balsamic (see below for more details)
Flavored olive oil

Compose individual salads in bowls. Top with some almonds, half of a cut-up avocado, and some feta.

Here's what I have learned: Purchasing salad dressing is a waste of money. Regular balsamic vinegar works great. Regular olive oil works great. For some variety, I have change things up by using different flavors of balsamic and olive oil. In my pantry, I have pomegranite balsamic, fig balsamic, and apple balsamic, and I have lemon olive oil and basil olive oil. I use different combos of these to create exciting new dressings. A little dash of vinegar and a little dash of oil is all you need!

I do also make my own dressing often. Here's what I do: In a recycled jalapeno jar (good size for this application), I start with some olive oil. I add half as much balsamic. I add a scoop of garlic (the minced kind out of a jar...fresh is very potent in this case). I add about 1/4 palm full of salt. I put the lid on the jar and shake it up. Voila! Deliciousness. Oh, and when I make this dressing, I use plain balsamic and oil.

**Lettuce notes: Spinach is the best for you, but it lacks that salady crunch we all love. Romaine is a crowd pleaser, and is still pretty nutrient-rich. Butter lettuce is fancy, and is my new favorite-a very buttery (duh) flavor.

Herb-Roasted Chicken Cutlets

1 Tbsp minced fresh tarragon
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 325°F. Mix all herbs together in a bowl. Place chicken in a baking dish with 1 Tbsp olive oil, the herb mixture, and 1 cup chicken stock. Roast about 15 minutes. Serve with the herb sauce.

Pesto Chicken Caprese

Now that I have started this blog, I have gotten lots of emails suggesting new recipes! How exciting! I have not made this recipe yet, but I'll be fixing it tonight. Ill update the post tomorrow if I have any edits or thoughts. I have included several modifications, so skip over what you don't need.

1 lb of thin chicken cutlets (if you can't find these, or if you already have chicken breasts at home you want to use, see below for a note)
1 container pesto (or, if you're feeling fancy, see below for a homemade pesto recipe)
2 tomatoes (I HATE tomatoes, so I can't be very helpful regarding what kind to buy...buy whatever vatiety you like) OR 1 jar roasted red bell peppers
1 ball fresh mozzerella (found near deli in the fancy cheese section at most grocery stores)

For homemade pesto: In a blender or food processor, purée 2 cups fresh basil, 1 garlic clove, a pinch of salt, 2 Tbsp pine nuts, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, and 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil.

If working with chicken breasts rather than cutlets: Put 1 chicken breast in a large plastic baggie. Remove the air from the bag and seal it. Use a mallot, heavy pan, or other heavy, flat object, to pound out the chicken into a thin cutlet. Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Season 1 pound of thin chicken cutlets with salt and pepper. Grill for about 4 minutes per side. If you'd rather not fire up the grill, saute the chicken in a preheated pan with a little swirl of olive oil, on medium-high heat, following the same time instructions.

Top each cutlet with a scoop of pesto as a slice (or two) of the fresh mozzerella. Put the pan in the oven for a few minutes to heat the pesto and slightly melt the cheese. Remove from the oven, transfer to a plate, and top with a slice of tomato or a roasted red bell pepper.

Addicting Pesto Blue Cheese Dip

This recipe is courtesy of my mom, who I have already cited at the "Queen of Dips." I believe she got the recipe from another family friend-needless to say, I do not know the original source.

1 jar sundried tomatoes (need a jar because they need to be in oil)
1 container of blue cheese (for this recipe, I buy the cheap blue cheese found in the regular refrigerated cheese section-since it's mixed in with other things, you don't need anything fancy)
1 pkg of pine nuts
1 pkg cream cheese
1 container pesto (I like Buitoni)

"I'm taking this to a casual get-together" Directions:
Put pine nuts in a dry pan on medium heat to toast them. DO NOT WALK AWAY. :) Let them do their thing until you can smell them. The great thing about toasting nuts is that they tell us when they're done. Take the sundried tomatoes out of the jar and pat them dry. Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Serve with crudite (fancy word for veggies:)).

"I'm taking this to a fancy get-together" Directions:
Follow the steps above for the pine nuts and the sundried tomatoes. To make this dip fancier, mix the blue cheese and cream cheese together in a bowl. Line a bowl with plastic wrap and layer the ingredients as follows: blue/cream cheese mixture, pesto, sundried tomatoes, pine nuts, repeat until you either run out of ingredients or the bowl is full. Make sure you finish your layering with the blue/cream cheese mixture. Refrigerate your dip for several hours. When you're ready to serve, turn the bowl over onto a plate and remove the plastic wrap. You should see fancy layers of ingredients, and your dip should stand up in a dome shape. Press the leftover pine nuts all over the outside.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

New Addiction: Feta Coleslaw with Radishes

We went out to dinner last night at a new burger restaurant. The service was terrible, but the food was delicious. I ordered a burger with blue chees and a bacon jam topping (working on how to recreate that recipe). On the side, I ordered "Feta Coleslaw." since I love and make the Zoe's recipe so often (recipe on another post), I was expecting it to be similar-how wrong I was. Feta and a light vinaigrette, yes. But the purple cabbage/radish/carrot combo, made it unique and amazing.

1 head purple cabbage
1 bag matchstick carrots
1 bunch radishes
1 container feta cheese
Olive oil
Red wine vinegar

Directions: Shred the cabbage. Thinly slice radishes and the cut each slice into quarters. Chop a handful of parsley. Put all of this, along with carrots, in a bowl and mix together. For the dressing, mix 1/2 c olive oil, 1/4 c red wine vinegar, a pinch of salt, dash of pepper, pinch of sugar ( I love using old-fashioned words like pinch and dash :) not really sure what exactly those terms measure as, but still, it's fun). Taste the dressing for salt/sugar-it should taste like a slightly sweet vinaigrette. Pour dressing over veggies, add feta on top and toss to coat everything. Now for the hard part- put it in the fridge and let it do it's thing for a few hours-I hate recipes where I can't eat them immediately, but this is worth the wait.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Roasted Spiced Chickpeas

One 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed and patted dry
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground hot paprika
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss chickpeas with oil and spices until evenly coated. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast, shaking pan occasionally, until chickpeas are golden and crunchy, about 30 minutes. Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container up to 2 weeks. From www.wholeliving.com via Pinterest

Friday, February 24, 2012

Amazing Iced Coffee

This recipe is amazing! I found this on Pinterest, originally from thepioneerwoman blog. Her blog is a must read! I pasted the original link to her recipe below because her pictures are very helpful and she's hysterical to read. :)

1 pound Ground Coffee (good, Rich Roast)
8 quarts Cold Water Half-and-half (healthy Splash Per Serving)
Sweetened Condensed Milk (2-3 Tablespoons Per Serving)
Note: Can Use Skim Milk, 2% Milk, Whole Milk, Sugar, Artificial Sweeteners, Syrups...adapt To Your Liking!

Preparation Instructions: (Adapted from Imbibe Magazine) In a large container, mix ground coffee with water. Cover and allow to sit at room temperature eight hours or overnight. Line a fine mesh strainer with cheesecloth and set over a pitcher or other container. Pour coffee/water mixture through the strainer, allowing all liquid to run through. Discard grounds. Place coffee liquid in the fridge and allow to cool. Use as needed. To make iced coffee, pack a glass full of ice cubes. Fill glass 2/3 full with coffee liquid. Add healthy splash of half-and-half. Add 2-3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk (can use plain sugar instead) and stir to combine. Taste and adjust half-and-half and/or sweetened condensed milk as needed. http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2011/06/perfect-iced-coffee/

Asian Slaw

**I posted the entire recipe here in case you want to make your own dressing. I think an asian-style peanut sauce/dressing works just as well and it waaaaayyyy easier :)
Pinned ImageFor the Dressing¼ cup honey
¼ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup unseasoned rice vinegar*
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
1 tablespoon peanut butter (I like Skippy Natural No Need to Stir)
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon Sriracha sauce (Thai hot sauce…optional)
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 large garlic clove, minced

For the Slaw4 cups prepared shredded coleslaw
2 cups prepared shredded carrots (or grated in food processor)
1 red pepper, thinly sliced into bite size pieces
1 cup pre-cooked, shelled edamame (available fresh or frozen)
2 medium scallions, finely chopped
½ cup chopped salted peanuts (you can also leave them whole)
½ cup loosely packed chopped fresh cilantro

1. Make the dressing by combining all ingredients in medium bowl. Stir until peanut butter is dissolved. Set aside.
2. Combine all of the slaw ingredients in a large bowl. Add dressing and toss well. Let sit at least 10 minutes so vegetables have a chance to soak up the dressing. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary (I usually add a bit more salt but go by your own taste). Serve cold.

Taken from http://www.onceuponachef.com via Pinterest

Lunch-Salad in a Jar

I found this on Pinterest, originally from http://homemadediva.tumblr.com

Use a Mason Jar to build your lunch salad from the bottom up. Put the dressing in first, followed by veggies, meats, cheeses, etc. with the final addition being your lettuce. When you're ready to eat, invert the jar onto a plate and everything is ready to enjoy; soggy-lettuce-free!

Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken

1 (14 oz.) can tomato sauce
2-3 chipotle chiles in adobo, finely minced

1/4 c. cider vinegar

3 TBSP honey

1 TBSP plus 2 tsp. sweet or smoked paprika

2 TBSP tomato paste
2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
3 tsp. dry mustard

1 TBSP chili powder

1 tsp. salt

3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs and breasts, trimmed of fat (I used 1 1/2 lbs. of each)

1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced


1. Stir tomato sauce, chiles, vinegar, honey, paprika, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, chili powder and salt in a 6-quart slow cooker until smooth. Add chicken, onion and garlic; stir to combine.

2. Put the lid on and cook on low until the chicken can be pulled apart, about 5-6 hours.

3. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and shred with a fork. Return the chicken to the sauce, stir well and serve. Serves 8-10.
Transform for Later in the Week:
BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad
Lettuce (whichever kind you like)-for this, I either buy shredded lettuce or cut it super thin into ribbons because I think it workes better in smaller pieces with the other ingredients
Toppings: black beans, corn, jalapeno, shredded cheddar cheese, jicama, avocado, ranch dressing
Pile some lettuce up with your leftover pulled chicken and whatever toppings you like. Enjoy! 

Bacon Wrapped Cream Cheese Jalapeno Bites

makes 24jonpoppers
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 12 Jalapenos, halved & seeded
  • 24 – six inch pieces of bacon, uncooked

Preheat oven to 350F.
Combine cream cheese and spices in small bowl. Spoon mixture into each pepper half, until level. Wrap each in bacon, and place on baking sheet. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Remove and enjoy!

From http://www.doughmesstic.net via Pinterest

Steamed Artichokes

This is an extremely simple recipe, but artichokes are addicting!
Artichokes ( 1 per person)
Either mayonnaise or melted butter

Fill a large pot with a steamer basket in it with enough water so it just touches the bottom of the basket. If you don't have a steamer basket, just fill your pot with a couple inshes of water.

Cut the stems off the artichokes almost all the way up to the base.

Put the artichoked in the pot and turn the burner on medium heat. Cover the pot, and let the artichokes do their thing for about an hour. You may want to check your water level at some point to make sure all of the water hasn't evaporated. If needed, add a little more water.

The artichokes are done when you can easily pull a leaf off. I use tongs and pull one of the leaves towards the center. The outside layer of leaves are tougher than the others, so they aren't the best ones to test.

Serve artichokes with mayo (sounds weird, but it's yummy) or melted butter.

Here's how to eat the leaves: Pull a leaf off the artichoke, dip it in whatever sauce you are using, and use your teeth to scrape off the meat on the tender side of the leaf.

Pecan Honey Mustard Chicken

This is a great weeknight recipe. My friend Whitney originally introduced me to a similar dish when I went over to her house for dinner. She used fancy mustard. Feel free to play around with that component.

**I really can't give exact amounts for these ingredients because it is very adaptable according to how many people you plan on serving***
Chicken breasts (enough for 1 for each person eating)
Honey Dijon Mustard
Pecan (finely chopped-I pulse them in a food processor until they are almost like breadcrumbs, but you can easily coat the chicken in larger pieces-you'll just need more of them)

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray it with non-stick cooking spray. Get your assembly line ready so you don't get ewwy chicken stuff on all of your ingredient bottles, etc.

Assembly line: Open package of chicken breasts; 2 plates, one with several tablespoons of the honey mustard, one with pecans; prepared cookie sheet.

Pick up a chicken breast, coat on both sides with mustard, coat on both sides with pecans (your hands will get very mustardy and pecany), put chicken on cookie sheet. Repeat for all of your other chicken breasts.

Bake chicken for about 30 minutes, or until no longer pink in center.

***Great with roasted vegetables, an artichoke, or a salad.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Salt-Roasted Root Vegetables

This is a great recipe from Bon Appetit! I have included the original recipe on this post, but I make it without potatoes.

7 egg whites
5 cups kosher salt
2 Tbsp. thyme leaves
2 lb. assorted medium sized root vegetables such as red and golden beets, sweet potatoes, parsnips, large fingerling potatoes, and carrots, washed and thoroughly dried
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. thinly sliced chives
1 Tbsp. finely chopped flat leaf parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
Flat leaf parsley leaves

Position rack in middle of oven. Preheat oven to 400. Combine egg whites, salt and thyme in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly, using your hands, to create a texture resembling wet sand, about 2-3 minutes. Halve larger vegetables as necessary so that all are around the same size. Pack salt mixture onto each individual vegetable, making sure no skin is exposed. Arrange prepared vegetables on a rimmed baking tray so that none are touching. Bake until crust is deep golden brown, and vegetables are tender when pierced with a pairing knife, about 45-50 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on baking tray 5-10 minutes. Peel the salt crust away from the vegetables, then peel the skins while still warm. Cut vegetables into 1 1/2" pieces. Toss with olive oil, chives, parsley and freshly ground black pepper. Arrange on a serving platter and top with parsley. Serve with roasted chicken, grilled steak, or toss with thinly sliced kale and eat as a salad.

Roasted Shrimp

2 lbs (12-15 count) shrimp
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Peel and devein shrimp, leaving the tails on. Place them on a sheet pan with the olive oil, salt, and pepper and spread them in one even layer. Roast for 8-10 minutes, just until pink and firm and cooked through. Set aside to cool.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Edamame 2 Ways

Boiled with Sea Salt

1 (16 oz) pkg frozen edamame in shell

Put frozen edamame in a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Cook for a few minutes, and you'll notice the edamame start to all float to the top. Take one out and test it. If you are easily able to get the pod open with your teeth to eat the bean, they are done. Drain and then toss with sea salt to taste.

Garlic Parmesan

Pinned Image1 (16 oz) pkg frozen edamame in shell
1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt to taste

Steam edamame in microwave until slightly warm and not frozen by throwing the edamame in a ziploc bag with about a tbsp of water, sealing it, leaving a small opening for steam, and heating it on high for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a small food processor, combine olive oil and garlic. Process until well-combined. Heat a wok (or any pan) over medium high heat. Add edamame and toss for a few seconds. Add garlic oil and saute for a minute or two, stirring constantly. Add Parmesan, and salt and toss until well coated. Serve immediately.

*I adapted this recipe from http://28cooks.blogspot.com via Pinterest

Oven Roasted Carrots



2 lbs carrots, trimmed and peeled
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
Balsamic vinegar
Coarse sea salt and fresh black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
Roughly chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)


Preheat oven to 425°F.
Cut the carrots into bite-size chunks. Place the carrots on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Then, splash on some balsamic vinegar, sea salt, black pepper and olive oil (amounts aren't important, just use enough so all the vegetables will be well seasoned and coated). With your clean hands, toss everything together. Then, spread the carrots in a single layer on the baking sheet.
Roast in the oven at 425F for 25 minutes. The carrots will have crispy edges and should be cooked through on the inside.
Serve hot.

www.theperfectpantry.com via Pinterest

Snack-Pears with Goat Cheese and Pistachios

2 pears, cored and cut into two dozen slices
1/4 cup goat cheese
2 tablespoons pistachio pieces
2 tablespoons cranberries
1 tablespoon orange or lemon juice

Core pears and cut into slices. Toss in orange or lemon juice to keep from browning. Spread cheese on widest part of slice and then sprinkle cheese end with pistachio pieces and cranberries. Arrange on platter and serve.

www.sweetpotatochronicles.com via Pinterest

Black Bean Corn Salsa

This recipe comes to me via my mom-queen of dips and apps. I make this dish weekly. I use it as a side dish, a dip, a taco topping-you name it.

1 can black beans, drained
1 can corn, drained
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 avocado, diced
balsamic vinegar
extra virgin olive oil
cilantro (optional)


Throw all of the vegetables together in a bowl. Add a few swirls of olive oil and a few of balsamic.

Try it on top of a burger patty or taco meat, or alongside BBQ chopped beef, chicken fajitas, or fish.

Roasted Garlic-Parmesan Cauliflower

Pinterest recipe, originally from ourbestbites.com

3-4 tbs olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 head cauliflower
kosher salt and pepper
2-3 tablespoons crumbled Parmesan cheese (stuff in a green can a-okay!)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place olive oil and garlic in a small bowl. Heat in microwave for about 20 seconds and set aside.
Remove stem and leaves from cauliflower head and trim into large florets. Slice each floret into 1/4 inch slices and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and garlic mixture and sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper. Use clean hands to toss to coat. Add more olive oil if needed. Bake for 15 minutes and then toss with spatula. Bake 10 more and then toss with Parmesan cheese. Continue baking for 5-10 minutes until slightly golden brown on edges.

***Prepare broccoli the exact same way for another version of yumminess

Roast Chicken with Lemon and Green Beans

I adapted this recipe I found on Pinterest from Real Simple Magazine. The original recipe included potatoes, but since I'm not eating those, I edited them out.


6 tablespoons olive oil
2 lemons, 1 thinly sliced, 1 juiced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 pound trimmed green beans
4 chicken breasts (bones left in, with skin, about 3 1/4 pounds)


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat a large baking dish or cast-iron skillet with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Arrange the lemon slices in a single layer in the bottom of the dish or skillet.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the remaining oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper; add the green beans and toss to coat. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, remove the green beans and arrange them on top of the lemon slices.  Place the chicken in the same bowl with the olive-oil mixture and coat thoroughly. Place the chicken, skin-side up, in the dish or skillet. Pour any of the remaining olive-oil mixture over the chicken.
  3. Roast for 50 minutes. Remove the chicken from the dish or skillet. Place the beans and potatoes back in oven for 10 minutes more or until the potatoes are tender. Place a chicken breast on each of 4 serving plates; divide the green beans and potatoes equally. Serve warm.

Fire and Spice Nuts-BonAppetit via Pinterest

  • 2teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder
  • 2teaspoonsground cinnamon
  • 2teaspoonsground ginger
  • 2teaspoonsground cumin
  • 2teaspoonssalt
  • 1teaspoonchili powder (preferably chipotle)
  • 1/2teaspoongarlic powder
  • 2large egg whites
  • 2cupspecan halves
  • 2cupswalnut halves and pieces
  • 2cupsraw cashews
  • 1/4cupsugar
  • 1/2cupmatchstick-size strips crystallized ginger


  • Position 1 rack in top third and 1 rack in center of oven; preheat to 225°F. Line 2 heavy large baking sheets with parchment paper. Stir first 7 ingredients in small bowl to blend. Whisk egg whites in large bowl until foamy. Whisk in spice mixture. Add pecan halves, walnut halves and pieces, and raw cashews; toss to coat completely. Sprinkle sugar over and toss to coat.
  • Divide nut mixture between prepared baking sheets; spread nut mixture in single layer. Bake until nuts are toasted and coating is dry, stirring every 20 minutes, about 1 hour 20 minutes. Sprinkle nuts with salt to taste, if desired. Transfer nuts to large bowl. Mix in crystallized ginger. Cool completely. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 week ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

Read More http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/2003/06/fire_and_spice_nuts#ixzz1mO6dUz3c

Roasted Veggies

Most nights during the week, my husband and I enjoy some sort of protein alongside a version of the recipe I am about to share. I've included some modifications for you to try below.

1 zucchini
1 yellow squash
1 red onion
1 red bell pepper
1 box of mushrooms (I like baby bellas or crimini, but it doesn't matter which kind your use)
Dried Italian herb mix (I use Herbs de Provence)


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Slice everything. The key here is to cut everything close to the same thickness so it all cooks evenly. Toss all of your veggies with extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of salt, a pinch of pepper, and about a tablespoon of your Italian herb mix, on a baking sheet. Spread everything out in one layer. Roast until fork tender, about 15 minutes.


Throw some whole garlic cloves into the mix. Once they cook they get creamy and become spreadable. Yum!

Try squash. Cut a butternut squash into chunks. Toss it with salt, pepper, and olive oil (skip the Italian seasoning). Depending on the size of your pieces, squash may take a bit longer to roast.

I also love a pin I found for roasted cauliflower and broccoli. Look for another post with these recipes.   

Green Monster Protein Shake

This recipe is super simple. All you need is a blender and the following ingredients:
  • 1-2 bananas
  • 1/2 cup frozen peaches
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango
  • a couple handfuls of spinach
  • Protein powder (Whole Foods has some great options)
  • water
  • ice (if desired)
Add enough water to blend and enjoy, that’s it!

This recipe is super inexact. Add whatever fruit you have. Frozen berries work wonderfully. I don't like bananas, so I usually skip this ingredient and add a carrot instead.

Crockpot Love

On Sundays, I often cook up a huge batch of Crockpot goodness with the intention of transforming the recipe into other dinners at least one other night during the week. Bam! Two meals with one pot. For those who don't use a Crockpot often, here are some notes that I wish someone would have told me:

-The cook time really doesn't matter...Put your pot together in the morning, turn it on low, and go on with the rest of your day. Check on it whenever you're ready to eat, and it will be delicious.

-Measurements really don't matter...feel free to manipulate ingredients according to your taste

Chicken Fajitas

1 bag frozen chicken breasts (usually comes in a pack of 4-6) (fresh works also, it's just easier for me to buy/throw in the pot frozen)

2 packets of your favorite fajita seasoning (I buy McCormick)

1 yellow onion

2 bell peppers (whatever color you like-I use 1 red, 1 yellow)

Favorite fajita toppings (I usually use some combination or sour cream, cheese, guacamole, lettuce)

Cut the onion and peppers into slices or wedges. Throw all of the above into the crockpot on high 4-6 hours or on low for 6-8.

When you're ready to eat, pile up a huge helping of the fajita meet and veggies. Hold the taco shell. Instead, add more toppings, especailly the lettuce. Store the leftovers in an airtight container so you can transform them into recipe #2 (below).

Chicken Fajitas Transformed-Chicken (Hold the Tortilla) Soup

Leftovers from Crockpot Chicken Fajitas

2-3 cloves garlic, minced (can use the preminced stuff from a jar)

1 white or yellow onion, chopped

1 can of diced tomatoes (or you can use Rotel with the green chilis)

1 can of corn drained (can also use frozen corn)

Chicken broth or stock (The quantity depends on how much leftovers you have, and on how much soup you want to make. I would go ahead and buy 2 of those cardboard containers because it keeps well in the fridge in case you don't use it all)

1 avocado (for topping)

Saute the onion and garlic in the bottom of your soup pan with a little butter or extra virgin olive oil, and some salt and pepper, until transparent. Add all of the other ingredients to the pot, and add enough chicken broth to cover all of the contentc. Let it do it's thing for a while. You are essentially just heating up the rest of the ingredients, so bring the soup to a boil, then let it simmer for a while until you're ready to eat. Taste your soup before you serve it. We don't like/use a lot of salt, so I usually don't add much extra seasoning. If you find that your soup needs a little something, consider these options:
-seasoned salt
-hot sauce
-garlic or onion salt


Zoes Cole Slaw

I make this weekly. I use is as a bed for burgers, barbeque, tacos, etc.

1 small head of cabbage, thinly sliced (or bag of coleslaw mix)
1 (6 ounce) package crumbled feta
6 -7 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup red wine vinegar (I use a splash of white vinegar along with this)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 -2 teaspoon sugar

Combine shredded cabbage, feta and chopped green onions in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl whisk together vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar, and EVOO.
Pour over the slaw and toss.
Refrigerate until ready to serve. It's best if you let it refrigerate for a few hours so you may want to make it the day before.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Crimini Mushroom Sloppy Joes

I don't have a picture of this one, but I L-O-V-E it. I usually add a little ketchup and sometimes a touch of barbeque sauce to get the consistency/taste I like. Instead of using a bun, check out my post for "Zoe's Cole Slaw." Pile a mound of this deliciousness on top of the slaw, and you have a healthy, low-carb meal.

1 tablespoon olive oil
12 ounces ground sirloin
2 (8-ounce) packages presliced cremini mushrooms
1 cup prechopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup no-salt-added tomato paste
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon molasses
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
4 (2-ounce) Kaiser rolls or hamburger buns, toasted

1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add beef; cook for 4 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble.

2. While beef cooks, place mushrooms in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until finely chopped. Add mushrooms, onion, and garlic to pan; cook for 3 minutes or until onion is tender. Add tomato paste and next 5 ingredients (through salt) to pan; cook 5 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and liquid evaporates. Stir in pepper and hot sauce. Spoon about 1 cup beef mixture on bottom half of each bun; top with top halves of buns.

Zucchini Pizza/Lasagna

This recipe comes to me courtesy of a friend. I do not know where the original recipe came from, but this is a once-a-week dish for me.  Experiment! Use italian sausage or pepperoni in place of ground round/turkey.  And I apologize for the poor photo quality. I really don't take pictures unless it's with my phone.

 1/4 tsp. salt
 4-5 cups shredded zucchini (1 large)
 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
 1/2 cups grated Romano or Parmesan cheese (or a mixture of both)
 2 eggs, lightly beaten
 1-1½ lb. ground round or ground turkey
 1 onion, finely chopped
 14 oz. Prego or homemade tomato sauce
 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
 1/2 tsp. leaf oregano, crumbled
 1 sweet green pepper finely chopped
 8-10 oz. fresh sliced mushrooms

Preheat oven to 400°F.
Grease (or spray with Pam) 13 1/2 x 8 1/2 inch glass baking dish. Sprinkle salt on zucchini in small bowl; let stand 10 minutes. Squeeze dry with paper toweling. Return zucchini to bowl and stir in 1 cup of mozzarella, 1 cup of cheddar, the Romano and the eggs. Press the mixture into the bottom of
pan. Bake in preheated hot oven for 20 minutes or until set.

Meanwhile, brown beef or turkey with onion in medium size skillet until no pink remains. Drain off excess fat. Stir in the Prego sauce, garlic and oregano. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Spoon mixture over zucchini crust. Sprinkle with green pepper, mushrooms, and the remaining cup mozzarella and cheddar cheese. Shake Romano/Parmesan over the top, if you like. Bake at 400°F for 25 to 30 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is melted. Let set a minute or two before cutting into portions.

Roast Chicken-Ina Garten

Ingredients 1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large bunch fresh thyme, plus 20 sprigs
1 lemon, halved
1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted
1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
1 bulb of fennel, tops removed, and cut into wedges
Olive oil

Directions: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Remove the chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pin feathers and pat the outside dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, both halves of lemon, and all the garlic. Brush the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Place the onions, carrots, and fennel in a roasting pan. Toss with salt, pepper, 20 sprigs of thyme, and olive oil. Spread around the bottom of the roasting pan and place the chicken on top. Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Remove the chicken and vegetables to a platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes. Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve it with the vegetables.