Sunday, September 9, 2012

Recipe: Summer Quinoa Salad

I'm still here! I am working on getting in the habit of posting more regularly again, so I promise I'll stop failing at that soon.  Until then, this is a great salad that came together in about 20 minutes.  I was having a bottle of wine with my friends Erica and Elizabeth and we decided we wanted some dinner (but didn't want to go out).  They gave me free reign of their pantry and kitchen and after a bit of poking around I threw this together with their help.  What is great about this salad is that it is gluten-free, super healthy, and endlessly interchangeable.  During the fall you could swap in roasted squash and eggplant, in the spring you could add in chopped baby spinach, apple, pecans and raisins.  I wish I had had some fresh parsley or lemon to throw in to give it a tabouli feel but it was perfect the way was. It works great as a main dish, or would be terrific beside a pice of grilled chicken or fish.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Zesty Chicken Rollups

The credit for this recipe goes to my mother.  When I was back at home a few weekends ago she whipped this up and it is a great way to use the grill to keep the house cool in the summer and do something that is a bit out of the norm for dinner.  The secret to keeping the chicken juicy and giving it great flavor is a long marinade in zesty Italian dressing (12ish hours) and the tucked in feta gives is a wonderful little surprise inside.  You could also use a dollop of Boursin or any other type  of cheese that you like, but the feta doesn't melt as easily meaning less could ooze out onto the grill.  The chicken itself is the thin cut variety, if you can't find that you can always pound out your own.

Here's what you need:
Zesty Italian dressing
Thin cut chicken breasts for the number of people you are serving
3 thin asparagus spears per person
Feta cheese
Cooking spray

Marinate the chicken in Zesty Italian for up to 12 hours for the best flavor.  Remove the chicken from the marinade and place on your cutting board, seasoning with salt and pepper.  Remove the woody ends from the asparagus and spray lightly with cooking spray and season with the salt and pepper.  Place them in chicken breast with a slice (if its a block) or crumbles of feta.  Roll up the chicken around the filling and use toothpicks to keep it closed.

Preheat your grill to 400 degrees and cook for 15 minutes, turning every 5 or until the chicken is cooked through.  We served it with grilled corn and some toasted sourdough.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sweet Substitutions: Chocolate Chip Chickpea Bites

Let's take a break from our regularly scheduled programing, shall we? My sister sent me another post for the Sweet Substitutions section (you can read the first one, here)  This time its Chocolate Chip Chickpea Bites from one of her friends blogs, and from the pictures it looks like something I'm going to have to make myself very soon.  Without further adieu, I'll let her take it away:

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Recipe: Lentil Stuffed Mushrooms

I've gotten back on a lentil kick recently, though some popular opinions assert that I never got off of it... but no matter.  I've talked about them a few times (here, here, and here) but this recipe might just take the proverbial cake.  The earthiness of the lentils pairs very nicely with the mushrooms, the ingredients stewed with the lentils add some extra nutrition and color, and the lentils themselves could be prepared several days ahead.  I made a pretty big batch of the lentils here, but if you were only looking to make a few mushrooms the recipe could easily be halved.  I got most of my ingredients at our local ALDI.  If you have one check it out, I've been very surprised by both the prices and the quality of the stuff they have.

You might also notice after reading the recipe that I cook the lentils for a long time, but I have a reason....I sort of like when they form a mush, or I suppose paste sounds better.  After it cools and goes in the fridge it can be spread on bread, dipped with crackers, and used in all sorts of ways (one of which is being stuffed into mushrooms, so it works out pretty well).  With the ease of prep after the lentils are cooked this would be a great item to take to parties, or reduce the recipe and have with a salad for an easy summer or fall dinner.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

21+: Blueberry Gin-ger-ade

Happy 4th to all of you in America, and happy Wednesday to the rest of you.  I made this drink last night for some festivities and thought that I would share it with you all.  It got great reviews from my friends and really hit the spot with the heat. Its cool, sweet, and is easy to throw together.  You can even make some of it ahead of time and throw in the ginger ale right before you leave.  This makes about 2 liters of drink but could be halved or doubled pretty easily.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Recipe: Roasted Broccoli with Lemon

I'm back! (It's alright if you didn't realize that I was gone, I'm happy to have you reading this too).  I apologize about the long break but between school wrapping up for the year and starting a job I haven't been able to post as regularly.  I'm working to change that.  Anyway, today I have an incredibly easy recipe that is really delicious.  I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Vegetable+425degree oven+a little bit of time=magic.  Today we are casting this magic on broccoli.  Trust me, even my sister was raving about how much she liked it...and if I can win her over you know something is working right.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Recipe: Roasted Beet and Spinach Salad

Let's go ahead and add beets to the list of things that I never in a million years thought that I would like even though I had never tried them (because I had never tried them).  WRONG.  Beets are amazing.  I love them for a few reasons: their earthy sweetness, their color (we really don't eat enough purple), and the way they can be transformed to fit many different types of dishes.  For this salad I roasted and sliced them and added them to a simple salad with a simple dressing.  It all comes together beautifully, and the beets could even be roasted a day before if you want them cold.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Recipe: Flatbread (Indian Chapatis)

Anyone who knows me can tell you about my deep and unending love for Indian food.  While I don't cook  most of the meals often (generally a lack of the myriad of spices needed), I did recently attempt this flatbread.  It is super easy, and you will have it mixed, rolled, and cooked in 10-15 minutes. Plus, in its simplest form you can use as few as 3 ingredients, but the recipe offers a vast amount of room for customization.  Herbs, spices, zests, etc can all be added.  This recipe makes 4 chapatis, and seems easy enough to double/triple/etc.  Because it comes together so quickly you can get to the point where you've rolled it out, then cover with a damp paper towel and just cook them up right before you serve your meal.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Recipe: Roasted Cauliflower

Cauliflower was one of those vegetables that I never had much growing up.  I've always enjoyed it in Indian dishes and other cooking but it isn't something that I've used much myself.  That is all going to change.  I should have known to try roasting it, roasting makes everything better...and here, it works magic once again.  If you think you don't like cauliflower, try it this way and hopefully you will experience the same revelation I did.

The cauliflower turns from bland and boring to golden and nutty and is so easy to prepare.  For a dipping sauce I used a mix of ketchup and sriracha, though a peanut sauce, aioli, or tomato sauce would work nicely as well.  If you have kids this could pass as a new type of "fry." Half a head of cauliflower is enough for 2-3 servings (or one.  Hey it is shame).

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sweet Substitutions: Chocolate Chip Cookies

So welcome, welcome to my newest feature on the blog.  The sweet substitution posts will be done with the help of my sister.  Between the two of us she bakes far more than I do.  Between tending to not have the patience for the measuring (as readers of this blog have no doubt noticed) and not having a whole lot of sugar in my diet I just don't seem to make delicious desserts, which is a shame.  However, with a group of sorority sisters and fraternity boys at her disposal, my sister isn't lacking people to try the sweets that she makes.  The ones posted here make substitutions to the typical oil, egg, and sugars to make the desserts a bit healthier without being any less delicious.  She said that the texture and flavor were just as good, and that the applesauce and banana played very nicely off of the chocolate.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

100th Post: Steak and Sweet Potato Empanadas

Wow, a year really goes by fast.  I can't believe I started this blog last February and that one year later I'm on my 100th post.  I want to thank everyone who has read my blog, commented, shared, or otherwise been a part of this journey.  I hope that you continue to enjoy the recipes that are still to come.

Today's recipe really hits both the cheap and easy portions of the blog.  While it may not be entirely traditional it is incredibly versatile.  I used diced sweet potato and beef.  If you don't have that on hand, scour the fridge: taco meat, shredded chicken, roasted veggies, anything with tomato sauce (boom calzones), chicken or tuna salad.  The only other ingredient you need is a package of thin crust pizza dough.  Plus, these are baked instead of fried and still turn a lovely golden, crispy brown.

P.S. It may seem like a lot of steps, but if you have the filling leftover from something you can skip to the stuffing phase which will cut down prep time considerably.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Dessert: Key Lime Fudge

As I move towards my 100th post (wow, can't believe it will be the next one!) I thought I'd share one of the few desserts that I make.  This fudge, simply put, is phenomenal.  It combines all the things that I love about good food: easy to make, pretty easy on the wallet, and absolutely delicious.  The bright acidity of the limes sets off the more muted tones of the white chocolate...and that is not even getting into the pretty pop of color of the green on white.   It has been a go-to best seller for me at bake sales this year.  I got the idea from the blog  Dozen Flours , which is a beautifully designed dessert blog (trust me, go look at some of the pictures).  I've played around with the ingredients and lime amount to find a variation that I like.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Recipe: Tomato Soup

The only thing better than a big hot bowl of soup on a cold day is a big hot bowl of soup that all came together in a food processor for super cheap and makes enough to feed.  This is not a fussy soup and eschews some of the traditional ingredients such as  milk, cream, or basil (though the latter would have been great had I had some).  I add thickness and creaminess to the soup with white beans but otherwise let the tomatoes do the talking.  You will need a large food processor such as a 10-14 cup but you can process it in batches and then add into the pot.  This would be great if you wanted to add thawed, wrung, spinach, or as you'll see at the bottom some cheese and pieces of ham.  There are so many options.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Snacktime: Hummus

I love hummus...and I love it even more now that I have a food processor (I'd recommend a 10-14 cup one for this recipe) and I can make it for myself. Not only is it significantly cheaper but I can control exactly what goes it in, which is always a plus.  Also, it couldn't be easier.  The one tough ingredient for hummus is the tahini paste which is made from ground sesame.  It can be found at many groceries, though I could not find it at Wal-Mart.  Best advice is to check a Publix, Hy-Vee, Wegmans, or the like.  The tahini will set you back 6 or 7 dollars but you will get lots of hummus batches from the bottle. I used olive oil in the recipe, but you could play around with other oils or sub out up to half with the liquid from the chickpeas.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Recipe: Santa Fe Soup

This is a great recipe that my mother makes in the winter.  It is spicy, full of vegetables, and makes a large amount (the leftovers of which are wonderful frozen.  It can also be made with a variety of different proteins, or none at all.  I used a rotisserie chicken, but that could be substituted for 3-4 cooked and shredded chicken breasts, 1-2lbs of cooked and drained ground beef, or even cooked and drained stew meat.  If making it without meat, you might consider adding another can or two of beans to the mix.

The rest of the ingredients pretty much include canned items (and optional chicken stock) making this an affordable, and pantry clearing soup.  Other substitutions you could play with are the beans.  You need two cans and can really use any combo of black, kidney, or white.  In the end, this will make around 8-10 servings.  At the end of the post you can see a picture of how much it makes to give you an idea.  The canned veggies are all the standard sizes, so the 10-14.5 ounce varieties.