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Monday, January 6, 2014

New Year Resolutions

I don't exactly have any dead set New Year resolutions that I'm trying to achieve. Let's be real. If I actually said that something was my new year resolution and that I was 100% committing to it, I'd never actually make any attempt at it. So this year I am attempting to eat better,  find an exercise I enjoy and do it more than once, as well as blog more. I know life will get in the way and that is why I have no strong commitments to them and hope they just kind of happen and become part of life.

Part of my eating better plan is to eat less carbs/ refined carbs. I am a carboholic. Give me bread, give me pasta, give me white rice!!!! I want it, I need it. At least I think I need it. This recipe I'm about to share with you is a great pasta free dish if you want it to be. Personally I just couldn't picture pasta with it.  So my friends, I give to you my take on Caprese Chicken from the Novice Chef. I served mine with sautéed zucchini and simple salads.


2 to 3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
salt & black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
5 to 6 large basil leaves chopped or torn
mozzarella, to taste, sliced in 1/2 inch thick slices or shredded
balsamic vinegar, to taste
splash of white wine

Preheat oven to 375.
Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken breasts and set aside.
In a large oven safe pan or cast iron skillet, over medium-high heat, heat the 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add chicken and cook for a few minutes on each side to brown. Add in garlic and cook until fragrant, add tomatoes and deglaze with a splash of white wine. Continue to sauté the tomatoes and garlic for a few minutes. Add in basil and balsamic and stir. Place pan in oven and cook chicken till about 140 degrees and top with mozzarella. Allow the mozzarella to melt and the chicken to reach 165 degrees internal temp. Serve with chicken with tomatoes, basil, and balsamic sauce on top.

While my chicken was cooking in the oven, I sautéed up some sliced zucchini with a bit of salt and pepper. The end result of the dish was a light, refreshing, flavorful meal that I see popping up in my meal rotation more often.

Yum Yum! Get in my tum tum!

Monday, July 22, 2013

It's Summer Time!

My oh my has it been way too long since I shared some meals with you! I put any and all blogging on the back burner so to speak to enjoy my last few months in Peru, time back home in Washington, and getting settled in North Carolina. I will probably still be the worst blogger ever, but I will try just a smidge harder to share with you some of the delicious cooking that have been doing!

Tonight's dinner is perfect for summer time! Who doesn't love veggies, chicken, and goat cheese?! If you don't, then quit reading now and check back another time for something you do like ;) One of my favorite pastas is orzo. I love it with a cream sauce. I love it with cheese. Cream sauce and cheese just sounded too heavy to go with the chicken I had planned. Those would steer this to an Autumn dish and that my friends, is not something we want during the sweet sweet Summer time! So let's get a rockin' and a rollin' on this dish! This dish was inspired by Bev Cooks and How Sweet Eats (possibly my two favorite food bloggers ever).


You will need:

Olive Oil
4 to 6 Garlic Cloves, minced
1/4 to 1/2 a Lemon
1 Zucchini, sliced
1/3 cup Frozen Peas
4 to 6oz Sliced Mushrooms
2 Roma Tomatoes, diced
1/2 Box Orzo Pasta
4 Chicken Thighs, with skin and bone-in
4oz Chevre with Herbs (You can use plain and add your own herbs)
Fresh shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Meanwhile, pat chicken thighs dry with a paper towel. Divide Chevre into 5 slices. Stuff 1 slice under the skin of each thigh. Rub remaining slice on the tops of the skin. Coat each thigh with olive oil and place in a cast iron skillet or roasting pan. Roast for 40 minutes or an internal temp of 165°F.

While the thighs are roasting, slice and dice those veggies! Get your water boiling for the orzo too!

Cook orzo pasta according to package instructions. Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium to medium high heat. Add garlic and let sizzle for about 30 seconds. Next add some lemon zest and juice to taste (careful not to get seeds in the skillet). Add all the veggies and saute until soft. When orzo is done and strained, add to veggie mix. Add a splash of olive oil and toss to coat. Keep warm on low until chicken thighs have finished cooking.

Dish up a chicken thigh or two and a hearty helping of pasta. Top pasta with freshly shredded Parmesan and enjoy!

Boom! Summery, yet savory! You are welcome :)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Cooking with the Husband

Saturday Mr. Scott really was bored, possibly beyond bored. He therefore decided he wanted a snack. I was not feeling the greatest so I was changing up dinner plans but needed a side dish to go with dinner. While we were watching one of Jamie Oliver's shows (I think it was like his version of 30 minute meals) he was making a risotto. Wha-Bam! Side dish idea! Mr. Scott also has been talking about making calamari at home for basically all eternity. Saturday was the day that is finally happened. Off to the store we went to acquire the needed items for our snack and the rest of dinner.

Now I do have a fondness for some fried calamari but like shrimp, I am clueless/scared to cook it at home. I however am not afraid to Google and look up a garlic aioli recipe! So that became my task while Scott handled Mr. Squidward. Here is where I pat myself on the back for my skills in whipping up a nice thick homemade aioli!
oooo look at that lovely quality aioli made by yours truly!
Mr. Scott determined after cutting up Mr. Squidward that we should have gotten Mrs. Squidward and possibly Little Squidward Jr. to make a better snack. Oh well, it was our first time and now we know that to have a more sizable snack that we need more than one!

Fry away Mr. Squidward!

Our snack... See we needed more...
Oh boy oh boy! That was some tasty calamari! Cooked perfectly with a lovely aioli to dip it in! Go Team Wondrasek!

That's right we had a little white wine going on with it :)

Ignore my horribly unmanicured hands

He wasn't supposed to start eating it before I took a picture of it dipped in the aioli
Now onto dinner... Since I wasn't feeling the greatest, I was also a little lazy. I was lazy in the fact that I bought a risotto pack so that my risotto was not totally from scratch. I know shame on me for not being super woman in the kitchen every day. I did saute some extra mushrooms to add if that counts for anything? For dinner we had Mushroom Bruschetta Chicken. Basically the chicken replaces the bread in the bruschetta factor. This turned out to be a very satisfying foodie kind of day!
My plate before I dived into it

My plate after I inhaled half of it.
Recipe time!

Roasted Garlic Aioli (adpated from Aunt B on a Budget)

1 head of roasted garlic
1 egg yolk
1/2 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp lemon juice

Either in a blender (with the removable cap off but lid on) or with an emulsion stick blender, add egg yolk and slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the aioli reaches the consistency you like. More oil for thicker, less for thinner. Next add the garlic, mustard, salt and lemon juice. Blend until incorporated.

*Side note! We've made this before with balsamic vinegar in place of lemon juice for burgers. I just happened to master the getting it thick factor :)*

Mushroom Bruschetta Chicken (adapted from Kraft Foods)

1 lb mixed fresh mushrooms, sliced or chopped
1 onion, finely sliced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp chopped thyme
1 lb chicken breasts (2 pounded thin or 2 cut thinly)
1/2 cup Italian blend cheese
Olive oil

Cook the mushrooms and onions in a large nonstick skillet, with enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan, for about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Add balsamic vinegar, garlic, and thyme. cook for about 5 minutes longer. Either transfer mushroom mixture to a bowl and keep warm or push to the sides to make room for the chicken.

Add the chicken and cook for 5 min. on each side or until done. Make sure to stir mushrooms occasionally to keep from sticking to pan.

Cover chicken with mushroom mixture and melt cheese on top. Serve while hot.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Branching out!

I don't like shrimp... On occasion I'll eat some of those little tiny baby ones that you put on like a salad in the summer time... Those are basically the only ones I find tolerable what so ever... I know, I know, I know...... What the hell is wrong with me? Who the hell doesn't love shrimp that isn't allergic? Well that's this girl right here!

Last night for dinner I made this delicious tomato-Alfredo pasta from Kitchen Trial and Error. To qualify it as a dinner in this house, I had to add meat. I did some chicken in there for myself. Now here is where the branching out comes in. I bought shrimp for the husband. Due to my major dislike for the shrimps, we basically never have shrimp in this household.

I had to ask him how to remove the shell because I am 100% clueless as to what to do with them. I did have to ask him how long they take to cook. He offered to cook them himself, but to me that defeated the purpose of this "surprise". Part of it was my stubborn self wanting to do cook everything that we were having for dinner with no help. I will not be winning any awards for my shrimp shell removal skills (I'm not the fastest but I didn't destroy them) but I will say that for a non-shrimp eating person, I cooked some damn good shrimps.

Now how on earth would I know if I cooked some damn good shrimps??? Because I ate one...... That's right  you read that correctly.... I ate a shrimp. Oh and that's "a" as in one (I'm not that crazy that I would go off the deep end and eat more than one). While that shrimp wasn't the worst thing I've ever had, it wasn't my most favorite. I would almost go as far to say that it was the BEST shrimp I've ever had.

Where does this leave us on the no shrimp in my household factor? I may allow them in the house more often and might even let them "cross-contaminate" with my chicken in the same pan/meal.  Miracles do happen people. Sometimes they are small ones and sometimes they are big... I'd count this as a small one since I am somewhat over my hatred for shrimp but I still don't love them...

Oh! I almost forgot! The rest of the meal was fantastic :) I seasoned up the tomato sauce part more than the original recipe but the Alfredo was heavenly all on it's own (I may or may not have been licking the whisk).

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Borderline Obsession

This may or may not be a good thing?  I think I have developed a borderline obsession with these beef empanadas I made. They make me question my judgement in cutting the recipe in half so that I wouldn't have an unmanageable amount of leftovers. I'm currently living in a state of regret. I kind of felt bad for the leftover won ton soup that had to live up to the expectations of my taste buds after that last bite of empanada. They make me wish I had an empanada dispenser on the fridge. Think of an ice dispenser but instead it dispenses ready to bake empanadas. Yeah I know, horribly obsessed.

While these weren't the prettiest looking empanadas to grace this earth, they were some of the tastiest. I would like to thank Pinterest again for delivering this tasty recipe into my life. For the delicious recipe, I shall send you to Handle the Heat and then leave you with a picture of one of my not so great looking, but overly delicious empanadas.
Mmmmmm empanada and diet coke <3

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

No, I think we'll just stay in instead

We have one good Thai restaurant down here. Siam Thai... Typically, Scott and I don't care to deal with the traffic to get there just for some Pad Thai. So on those nights when some delicious Pad Thai sounds great and traffic is a big turn off, I refer to this handy book called Cooking The Thai Way (I was able to get mine in paperback for like $8). There is only one Lima Limitation in this recipe that I have to substitute for, which is awesome! It's just as good as most Thai restaurants I've been to and definitely as good, if not better, than Siam's.

You will need:
1/2 lb narrow rice noodles
3 to 4 Tbs fish sauce***
6 Tbs sugar
6 Tbs white vinegar
1 Tbs Ketchup
1/2 lb chicken, pork or shrimp (you know whatever the hell you like)
1/3 cup vegetable oil (I use less and usually it's olive oil instead)
2 to 3 cloves of garlic
2 eggs
4 green onions
12oz fresh bean sprouts
3/4 cup ground peanuts
red pepper flakes
lime wedges

*** I can't find fish sauce down here so I substitute 2 Tbs soy sauce and 2 Tbs Fish stock, but you could do all soy and I think it would be fine***

Cook the rice noodles according the package directions. Meanwhile in a small bowl, mix the fish sauce, sugar, vinegar, and ketchup. Set aside. Cut meat into bite size pieces.

Heat a wok or large skillet and add the oil. Carefully tilt the wok so that the oil coats the inside. Add garlic and stir-fry until golden. Add the meat and cook until no longer pink.

Meanwhile in a small bowl, beat the eggs with a fork. Pour eggs into meat mixture in woke and stir to lightly scramble the eggs.

Add the fish sauce mixture while continuing to stir. Next add the softened noodles and toss with the meat and eggs. Next add the green onions and 2/3 of the bean sprouts, cook and toss the mixture until the sprouts are tender but crisp.

Garnish with the remaining bean sprouts, ground peanuts and lime wedges. The book says to have everyone add their own red pepper flakes, but I know about how spicy Scott and I like it so I just add those in when adding the green onion.

Sorry for the slightly poor quality photo. Forgot I used the iPhone to take it.

Now doesn't that just look yummy and like you ordered take out!?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mmmmm..... Cupcakes!

Awhile back I had pinned this little cupcake recipe from How Sweet It Is... Hadn't gotten around to making this until I think it was last week when I all of the sudden really wanted a cupcake.... I followed the recipe except for the fact I didn't have regular all-purpose flour and I only had some whole wheat... Also mine took around 20 minutes to bake not 10-12... But guess what folks?! They turned out deeeeee wait for it.... licious! (I've been watching too much "How I Met Your Mother"... Thanks a lot Barney Stinson) Slightly different texture with the flour but who cares... It was like a lovely vanilla heaven descended into my mouth.... No pictures of those two cupcakes because Scott and I totally ate them and I forgot.... But not to worry! I had the brilliant idea of we need to turn these into some delicious chocolatey heaven! As a precautionary measure, I did take pictures right after frosting so that if indeed they did taste like the chocolatey heaven I hoped for that I would blog them...

Oh so yummy!
I'm thinking that these need to get made again (tonight!) to use up that leftover frosting in the fridge..

Chocolate Heaven Cupcakes for 2

1 egg white
2 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs melted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp chocolate extract (optional)
1 tsp cocoa powder
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp (heaping) baking powder
1 1/2 Tbs milk

Whisk melted butter and sugar together. Add egg white and whisk. Add extracts and cocoa powder and whisk. Next add flour and baking powder and whisk to combine. Add milk and whisk. Pour into two cupcake liners.

Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes (ovens and pan types may vary cooking time). Let those tempting little chocolate cupcakes cool completely, then frost.

Finally hide them out of site until after dinner, otherwise you may eat them. Well that could be okay too. It just depends on if you are trying to have a lovely dessert with your significant other.

and I'm off to go make those cupcakes again!