Friday, August 31, 2012

Celery Bleu Cheese Salad

After I had my delicious Crispy Buffalo Chicken Tenders recipe picked out, I needed a side to go with them.  I had some leftover bleu cheese and some celery in the fridge, and at first I was just going to dip some celery in the bleu cheese, but then I found a recipe for this salad!  YUM!  This turned out very refreshing with the spiciness of the chicken tenders!

Celery Bleu Cheese Salad

Celery Bleu Cheese Salad:

3 Tbsp. crumbly bleu cheese
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise (I used lite)
1/3 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 head celery, sliced in bite-sized pieces

In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients.
Serve Immediately.

Adapted from Food Network

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fingers

This recipe sounded super yummy and when I came across it on Pinterest, I wanted to make it immediately.  Then I tried it, and though a little time consuming, they ended up being the best chicken tenders ever.  I also think they would be great for kids because they are homemade, so you know exactly what goes in them!  (Plus, they are way better than any frozen chicken tender.)
Matt and I ate all of these... I actually ate most of them, but Matt helped.  We didn't have leftovers.  They were delicious.

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Tenders 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Pork Tinga Tacos

Today I had a job interview (wish me luck!), so I decided to throw one of the pork tenderloins I bought last week (BOGO, YAY!) The recipe I found was super easy, and it involved tacos, which are clearly the best thing ever, and my slow cooker, aka the greatest invention known to man.
I also liked this recipe because it had tons of leftovers!  Matt and I ate this for about three days afterwards, and it was still delicious!

Pork Tinga Tacos 
Pork Tinga Taco

Pork Tinga Tacos

4 medium russet potatoes
2 pounds pork loin, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1 tsp. dried oregano
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 medium white onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
Corn tortillas, for serving
1 cup crumbled feta cheese, for serving
2 large avocados, cut into small pieces, for serving

Mix all ingredients, except for feta, tortillas, and avocados in slow cooker, being sure to mix the juices all around.
Cook for 6-7 hours on low.
To serve, heat tortillas on a plate, covered with a damp paper towel in the microwave for 30 seconds.  Scoop some taco mixture into tortilla, and top with feta and avocado.

Recipe adapted from: Everyday Mexican by Rick Bayless

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sausage and Balsamic Tomatoes

I have tons of sausage in my freezer.  It's a little silly.  Every time I'm home, I buy Gianelli sausage because they don't sell it here, so in turn, I have about a trillion sausages hanging out in my freezer.  (Okay, maybe not a trillion, but a lot.)  I found this recipe while I was digging through Pinterest and it sounded yummy.  Plus, it's so simple!  The best kind of yummy! (Extra plus, it made my house smell DELICIOUS!)

Sausage and Balsamic Tomatoes 

Sausage and Balsamic Tomatoes

6 turkey sausages
1 medium white onion, sliced in 8ths
1 pound cherry tomatoes
4 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. oil
1 handful fresh basil, ripped up

Preheat oven to 350.  Put sausages and garlic in baking tray.  Pour in oil and season with salt and pepper.  Bake for 15 minutes.
Take out the tray, add tomatoes and vinegar, put it back in the oven for another 15 minutes.
Stir in basil.  Enjoy!

Source: Kayotic Kitchen

Monday, August 27, 2012

Parmesan Crusted Fish

I have been on my own initiative to include more fish in my diet as part of eating healthier.  Fish is super good for you, has a small amount of calories, and is super tasty!
Okay, that's enough on the soapbox.  I found this recipe for parmesan crusted fish in my Mom's recipes and thought it sounded good.  It's been on my weekly recipe rotation for about three weeks now, but it always seems to be the one that gets bumped if we go out to eat or something.  (That's because I don't have to buy extra ingredients, it's based on pantry ingredients!)  Anyway, it finally got made this week! It turned out pretty good, though I think the fish I used could have been of better quality.  I probably would have liked it better if that were true, however Matt liked it!

Parmesan Crusted Fish

It's so crispy!

Parmesan Crusted Fish

1 egg
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 pounds fish filets
1 cup parmesan, grated
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. dried parsley
1 Tbsp. lemon juice

Beat the egg lightly with the garlic and pepper.
Coat the fish with the egg, draining off excess.  Roll the filets in parmesan to coat.  Heat the oils in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot.  Add the filets and cook until browned on one side, about three minutes.  Turn the filets over, and brown the other side, about two minutes.  Sprinkle with parsley and lemon juice.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Bacon and Egg Grilled Cheese

Grilled cheese.  One of the first things I learned to cook by myself, and still one of the tastiest; it also wasn't supposed to be on the menu tonight.  I had planned to cook a pasta frittata, but I was home alone and didn't want to bother with something that elaborate.  Plus, when Matt isn't home, I can use as much butter as I want and not have to worry about his high cholesterol, so I seized the moment!
Now you might ask yourself where did that bacon and egg come from?  Well my friends, that is basically everything that was in my fridge... cheese, bread, bacon, and eggs.  Voila!  My (ridiculously good) breakfast grilled cheese was born!

Bacon and Egg Grilled Cheese
Okay, so the bread got a little too toasty, but it didn't taste burnt, and the runny egg and melty cheese were SO GOOD with it!

Bacon and Egg Grilled Cheese

2 strips bacon
1 medium egg
2 ounces cheese (I used muenster)
2 slices bread (I used whole grain, obviously I'm very healthy)

Place the bacon in a pan heated over medium heat.  Once crispy, take out of pan and set aside.  Fry egg in bacon grease and cook until over medium. (So the yolk is still runny.) Set aside.  Butter one piece of bread and place that face down in pan, add 1 ounce cheese, the egg, bacon, the other ounce of cheese, and the other piece of bread (buttered face up) in that order.  Cook on one side until golden brown, flip and cook the other side until golden brown.
To serve: slice down the middle so the yolk runs out.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

BBQ Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

So when I was making up my menu this week, I was really in the mood for macaroni and cheese, but wanted a new twist on my usual buffalo chicken macaroni and cheese.  I thought, why can't I do this with barbecue sauce?  So that's what I did. It came out really good!  Next time, I will add a little more barbecue sauce, or bake it a little less so that it's moister.  Yum!

Look at that cheesy goodness!  

I obviously couldn't wait to dig in, so I don't have a picture of the complete dish.  Whoops!

BBQ Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

1 pound fusilli
1 pound cooked, shredded chicken breast
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium green pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 Tbsp. flour
1 cup barbecue sauce
12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350. Bring a large pot of salted water to boiling.  Add pasta and cook per directions on box; drain.
Place pepper over open flame to roast.  Turn frequently until the outside is charred.  Wait until cool, rub off charred layer and cut into small pieces.
In a saucepan, melt 3 Tbsp. of butter over medium heat.  Sprinkle in flour, and whisk for 1 minute.  Pour in milk, garlic, and sauce, whisking until it boils. Simmer three minutes.  Remove from heat, stir in  8 ounces cheese.  Add pasta, peppers, and chicken.  Put in a casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.
Microwave remaining tablespoon of butter for 30 seconds.  Stir in breadcrumbs and sprinkle over cheese.  Bake 15 minutes, or until cheese is bubbled and breadcrumbs are crunchy.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Blueberry Torte

Though dinner for when Tara came over was only okay, dessert was rockin'.  (If I do say so myself).  Blueberries were on sale this week (buy one get one free!) so I picked up a couple of cartons and opted to make something with blueberries... plus if there's fruit, it's healthy right?  I also liked this recipe because I made it the night before, and then just added the blueberries right before I served it.

Look at those blueberries, dripping with sugar!

Simmering Blueberries!
I apologize for the half-eaten pie, we couldn't contain ourselves enough to take a picture of the whole thing!!

Blueberry Torte!

Blueberry Torte

1 ready-made graham cracker crust (I know, I cheated a little!)
1 8-oz. package 1/3 less fat cream cheese
1 cup sugar, divided
3 eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup fresh blueberries + a handful of mashed blueberries
2 Tbsp. flour

Cream together cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar, vanilla, and eggs.  Pour over crust and bake for 25 minutes at 325.  Throw the rest of the sugar, flour, and the mashed blueberries into a small saucepan and cook until thick.  Add the berries and cool.  Cool cake in refrigerator with berries separate if planning on serving the next day.  The berries may be spooned on top right away if planning on serving a few hours later.

Source: The Country Art of Blueberry Cookery

Country Chicken

Today we had company over for dinner, Matt's cousin Tara!  I wanted to make something really yummy but more on the healthier side, so I picked this recipe from one of my cookbooks.  It turned out okay, but not as good as I would have hoped.  It also took a little longer to cook than anticipated because the chicken was still a little frozen when I started cooking.  Whoops!  Good thing there was good conversation to be had while we waited!

Country Chicken
Country Chicken

2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in bite-sized pieces
2 tablespoons butter
3.5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 large zucchini, sliced
2 large green peppers, sliced
1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 cup white wine

In a large skillet, brown the chicken in butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil.  Place onion in pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cover and cook slowly about 15 minutes.
In another skillet, heat 1.5 tablespoons olive oil and saute zucchini and peppers until soft (about 10 minutes).  Sprinkle with basil.  Transfer veggies to skillet with chicken and pour in wine.  Simmer, covered, about 15 minutes, or until chicken is very tender and veggies are cooked.

Source: The Culinary Arts Institute Cookbook

Monday, August 6, 2012

Chicken Stir Fry

So I probably should have decided what I wanted to cook for dinner with the chicken I pulled out sooner than 10 minutes before I decided to start cooking.  That way, I could have actually marinated my chicken, but a quick marinade had to do for today, whoops!  However, I was really excited to use my electric wok for the first time!  I felt super fancy!  I also should have read the directions a little better because it said to wipe off the chicken before throwing it into the wok, which I didn't do, but then it burned onto the wok.  Then, after I threw the water in to steam everything, the burnt part came off and came into the food flavor.  Oh well, now I know for next time!  All in all, the meal came out pretty good, plus the Quick Pickled Cucumbers I made were a lovely crisp bite in between.  Super easy for summer!

Chicken Stir Fry

Chicken Stir Fry

2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon white wine
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, or as needed
1 frozen package broccoli florets
1 medium zucchini
2 tablespoons water
2 cloves minced garlic

Combines soy sauce, wine, and sugar in medium bowl.  Add chicken and refrigerate for approximately 30 minutes.  Remove chicken and pat dry.
Cook broccoli one minute less than directions on package.
Warm a wok (if you have one) or a deep frying pan over medium-high heat.  Add 2 teaspoons of oil and heat.  Add half of chicken, cook without stirring for 1 minute, then stir and cook until browned.  Transfer chicken to clean bowl. Heat 2 teaspoons oil and repeat with remaining chicken.
Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil and heat.  Add broccoli and zucchini.  Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables begin to just soften, 2 to 4 minutes.  Add water and continue to cook vegetables until vegetables are crisp and tender, 1 to 2 minutes more.  Push vegetables to side of pan, add garlic to the center and cook for 15-30 seconds.  Return vegetables to center and combine.  Return chicken and any juices; stir to combine.  Pour in broth.  Cook, stirring constantly; until chicken is cooked through.

Quick Pickled Cucumbers

Cucumbers are not my favorite vegetable.  Actually, I almost never eat them unless they are in something.  Actually, I always pick them out and only eat them in tzatziki and as pickles.  Oh well, I like other vegetables, so give me a break!  However when I was home, my uncle gave me a bunch of vegetables from his garden and that included two cucumbers.  When I got back to my apartment, I thought, what in the world do I do with these?  One became tzatziki and the other was turned into this delicious Asian-inspired recipe for Quick Pickled Cucumbers.  Yum!  I thought they would be a nice light addition to my stir fry!

Soaking in all their glory!
Quick Pickled Cucumbers
Quick Pickled Cucumbers:

1/3 cup water
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 clove minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 thinly sliced english cucumber

Combine all ingredients except cucumber in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Remove from heat; add cucumber.  Let stand 30 minutes (or longer for deeper flavor).  Drain.

Source: Cooking Light