Saturday, December 24, 2011

Southwestern Stuffed Acorn Squash

My mom first originally made this for Troy and I awhile back. Now believe you me... I was skeptical. I'm not really a squash fan. My husband definitely not a squash fan. But believe it or not we both ended up going back for seconds! I love this because it's a whole meal in itself! Not to mention it's pretty darn healthy for you too!

Southwestern Stuffed Acorn Squash
very slightly adapted from Eating Well


3 acorn squash, (3/4-1 pound each)
1/2 pound lean ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbs chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
2 cups chopped cherry tomatoes
1 15oz can black beans rinsed
1/2 tsp salt
Several dashes hot sauce, to taste
1 cup shredded swiss cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray. Cut squash in half horizontally. Scoop and discard seeds. Place the squash cut side down on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until tender, about 45 min.

In the mean time, brown the ground beef in a skillet. Add onion and bell pepper until tender. Stir in garlic, chili powder and cumin. Cook for about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes, beans, salt and hot sauce. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until the tomatoes are broken down. About 10-12 minutes.

When the squash are tender reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Fill the squash halves with the ground beef mixture and top with cheese. Place on the baking sheet and bake until the filling is heated through and the cheese is melted. About 8-10 minutes.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Strawberry Jello Pie

I had to make a pie for Thanksgiving this year. I have never made a pie in my entire life. I'm not really a baking person. I prefer cooking. I figured a Jello pie would be fool proof enough for my inexperience. It was fool proof and might I add delicious?

Strawberry Jello Pie
from Baked with Love and Butter

1 pint fresh strawberries, sliced
1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
3 Tbs corn starch
4 tbs strawberry Jello mix
3-4 drops red food coloring

1 graham cracker pie crust (buy it or make it yourself)

Add water, sugar, corn starch and food coloring together in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Stir until well mixed. {The mixture will be a milky pink color}. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the mixture becomes thick and clear. Mine didn't thicken and clear up until it started to boil. Once the mixture is thick and clear remove from heat and add Jello. Let it cool a bit. {This is a great time to start slicing your strawberries!}
Add sliced strawberries to pie crust. Once the jello mixture has cooled a bit, pour over strawberries in the pie crust. Put the pie in the refrigerator for a few hours to set up.

Serve and top with homemade whipped cream. Mmmm....

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cranberry Baked Brie

We started a new tradition on Thanksgiving and it involves brie cheese. If I had to pick brie would be my favorite cheese. Just thinking about it makes me want to run out and get more. While in NYC a few weeks ago and I an open faced turkey sandwich with brie and apples. So good. The melted brie. Yum!

Thanksgiving dinner didn't happen until 3:30 due to naps so I planned a few appetizers. This cranberry baked brie was the star. The burst of orange zest with cranberry and melted cheese on a ritz cracker. Oh so good! I would have eaten the whole thing if I could have.

This is what it looked like after about 10 minutes. We couldn't stop eating it. Good thing we had a few hours between this and our dinner.

Baked Brie

8 ounces brie cheese round
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup fresh cranberries, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, or dried
1/2 teaspoon orange zest

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Place brie on a baking sheet.
2. Pour maple syrup over top, and add cranberries. Sprinkle with thyme and orange zest.
3. Place in oven, and bake 25-30 minutes, until brie is soft when cut.
4. Remove from oven, and carefully transfer to a serving plate.
5. Serve immediately with crackers.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pumpkin Chili

I've been pinning lots of yummy looking food on my pinterest account, but my goal is to actually make an item off my board. This pumpkin chili is one of them. I was a little apprehensive to make it. Pumpkin? In chili? It seems that pumpkin is usually paired with something sweet. But you couldn't even taste the pumpkin flavor. It was sweeter than typical chili.

The recipe calls to make it on the stove, but I browned the onions and beef and then tossed everything in the crock pot and put it on low all day. You can do either depending on the time you have.

Pumpkin Chili
adapted from Whole Foods

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 pound ground beef
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with their liquid
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin purée
1 cup water
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add onion, jalapeños and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add beef and cook until browned. Add tomatoes, pumpkin, water, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and add beans. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes more. Ladle chili into bowls and serve.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas

Wow it's really been a long time. Longer than I happy with! Here is a winning recipe to make up for it though :) Honey and lime have got to be my new favorite flavor combination! And I'm sure a lot of you have tried some variation of these delicious enchiladas. If you haven't... they are divine and you should! I adapted this recipe from one of my favorite go to recipe sites Mel's Kitchen Cafe. I left out the heavy cream to keep these enchiladas on the lighter side of the calorie spectrum. Enjoy!

Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas
adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

6 tablespoons honey
5 tablespoons lime juice (1 large lime)
1 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 pound chicken, cooked and shredded
8-10 flour tortillas
8-10 oz pepper jack cheese, shredded
24 0z jarred salsa verde (I used La Victoria)

Mix together the honey, lime juice, chili and garlic powder. Pour over the shredded chicken and marinate for at least 1-2 hours longer if you can. When the chicken has marinated add chicken and cheese to the tortillas {save some cheese to sprinkle on top}and place in a greased 9 x 13in pan. Pour salsa verde over enchiladas and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degree for 25 minutes.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Margherita Pizza

After a suggestion from Mallory, my husband and I sat down to watch the documentary Forks Over Knives. After watching the documentary Troy and I decided that we should go on a 7 day vegetarian diet. The documentary suggests to cut out all animal products, but I have a relationship with cheese. I love dairy, especially cheese. I don't think I could live a happy fulfilling life without it.

For our week long vegetarian diet we decided to make a Margherita Pizza. My personal opinion is that tomatoes, basil, and garlic is the most wonderful tasting flavor combination. Tomato + basil + garlic + pizza = ah-may-zing! The best part of this pizza would have to be the homemade sauce. I will never buy pizza sauce again. It's sooo easy and extra tasty!

Pizza Margherita
Slightly adapted from A Sweet Pea Chef

1 pizza crust/dough

1 14oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, not including juices
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 ground black pepper

2-3 roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
1 oz fresh basil torn in to pieces

Preheat over to 450 degrees.

To make sauce. Drain tomatoes and puree in a food processor (or blender). Add olive oil, oregano, basil, garlic, salt and pepper. Pulse to combine.

Spread sauce evenly over pizza dough leaving a 1/2 inch border around the edge for the crust. Evenly sprinkle shredded mozzarella over pizza sauce. Add sliced tomatoes, creating a layer of tomatoes on top.

Bake pizza for 12-15 minutes or until crust turns a golden brown and cheese has melted. For an extra yummy crust mix a little olive oil, garlic powder and kosher salt together. Brush on the crust the last few minutes of baking.

Toss fresh basil over cooked pizza and let stand about 3 minutes. Slice and serve.

Makes 1 large pizza.

Notes: I'm sort of a cheater and I like to buy already made dough from my local bakery. Making dough intimidates me for some reason. One of the bakers let me in on a little pizza dough secret. When you're making pizza, if the middle of the crust keeps coming out doughy bake the dough for 5 minutes in the oven before adding toppings.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Butternut Squash Soup

I'm alive, I promise. And I have been cooking meals, but honestly nothing that's blog worth. We've been busy. The husband is interviewing like crazy. And so far has four more interviews that he has to fly to. So when he's gone I don't really make dinner.

A couple weeks ago we had a few days of cooler weather, like in the 60s. It was time for soup. Squash are my favorite vegetables. They are cheap, last a long time and you can dress them up so many different ways. This time I used a butternut squash. They are tricky to cut, so unless you are strong I recommend letting the husband/boyfriend cut it for you. This soup had a nice kick to it because of the jalapeno, but it's not too bad.

2 T butter
1/2 onion, diced
2 t ginger
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
1 butternut squash-peeled, seeded and cubed
2 c chicken broth
1 evaporated milk
1 t sugar
salt and pepper
1 c sour cream

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in onion, ginger and jalapeno pepper; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the butternut squash and chicken broth, and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until squash is tender. Stir in evaporated milk, sugar, salt and pepper. Cook and stir 5 minutes. CAREFULLY, pour soup into a blender. Hold the lid of blender with towel and start to blend. Puree in batches (I was able to do it all at once in my blender), or if you have a hand blender you can blend it in the pot. Serve with sour cream.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Chicken Taco Soup

We love this soup. We made this awhile ago and I literally ate taco soup every meal for about 4 days. I got this recipe from my neighbor Ruth Boulton. She brought us this as a meal after I had my baby this past January. I had to have the recipe. The best part is you probably already have most of the ingredients in your pantry right now!

Chicken Taco Soup
From Ruth Boulton

1 can diced tomatoes with juice
1 can corn with juice
1 can kidney beans with juice
1 can black beans with juice
2 cans cream of potato soup
3 chicken bouillon cubes
2-3 cups water
1/2 - 1 package reduced sodium taco seasoning
4 chicken breasts cooked and shredded

Cook and shred chicken breasts. Add all ingredients in to a crock pot. Cook on high for 3 hours. Serve. If desired top with cheese, Fritos, and sour cream.

Serves 4-6

Notes: This can taste pretty salty with all of the ingredients especially if you add cheese and chips. Go for the reduced sodium items. Check labels and make sure your canned items don't have any unnecessary sodium added.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Black Bean Burgers w/ Guacamole

No one will ever be more shocked than I that I actually get to post this recipe as "Husband Approved". My husband really did say, "Wow, these are actually good!" He also really did go back for seconds. AND he really did ask, "when are you going to make those veggies burgers again? Those are good." So I did. Both times he gobbled them up. Shock and awe people. Shock and awe.

Black Bean Burgers

2 cans black beans, drained but not rinsed
1 to 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1/2 of a bell pepper, chopped up small (the color is up to you I've used red and green with great results)
1/2 cup onion, chopped up small
1 tbs chili powder
1 tsp granulated garlic
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 eggs

Drain black beans and place in a medium sized bowl. Using a potato masher, mash up beans well. Add in onions, bell pepper, chili powder, garlic and cayenne pepper and mash with the beans. The onions and pepper won't exactly mash up but it helps get the flavors incorporated in to the beans. Mix in panko. Add eggs and mash those in to the bean mixture as well. {In case you are wondering why eggs? The eggs help hold the burgers together during cooking} Once all of the ingredients are well incorporated. Make into burger sized patties. I like mine thick, about one inch.

You can either:
grill them like regular burgers over medium heat
bake them at 375 degrees for 10-12 min {flip them over half way through}
or cook them in a pan with a little oil over medium high heat for 10-12 min

I prefer baking.

Serve on whole wheat buns. Top with guacamole and any other desired toppings {cheese, lettuce, tomato, etc...}

Serves 4-6

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Pumpkin Smoothie

We've been drinking a lot of smoothies lately. I recently got the book, The Food Bible. It's all about how the book can cure different ailments by the food you eat. Under the section I'm following I need to be consuming eight servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Which isn't too bad. Fruits and vegetables should be a big part if any diet. Everything I read always comes down to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and less animal product.

Well I opened up a huge can of pumpkin purée and so we started having pumpkin smoothies. So good. I don't know why I waited so long to have one. It's really like eating pumpkin pie.

3/4 c pumpkin purée
1 frozen banana
1/2 c milk
Handful baby spinach {I always throw spinach into my smoothies, you can't even taste it. I've even done carrots and red pepper}
1/2 t cinnamon
1/8 t nutmeg
1/8 t ground cloves

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. If you like it more liquid add more milk and if you like it thicker add ice cubes or add less milk.
Drink with a straw. Yum!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ham Fried Rice

I have always had a soft spot in my heart for Chinese food. Unfortunately, most of the Chinese restaurants around here {while very much delicious} probably aren't the greatest choices for you. I absolutely love this version of ham fried rice that I've sort of adapted from several different recipes. It's full of veggies, super easy and delicious!

Ham Fried Rice

1 tbs canola oil
one half of a small onion, minced
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 tbs grated fresh ginger
2 cups carrots julienne style
2 cups broccoli florets
2 cups sugar snap peas
1 cup ham, diced
4 cups brown rice, cooked
2 tbs soy sauce
2 eggs

In a large non stick skillet heat the oil over medium high heat. Add onions, garlic and ginger and saute for about one minute. Add carrots, broccoli, peas. Saute for another 4-5 minutes. Next add the ham and rice. Cook until heated through. Once the rice is heated through make an empty space in the middle of the pan. Add eggs and scramble until fluffy. Stir them in to the rest of the ingredients. Add soy sauce and stir until well mixed. Serve.

100% Whole Wheat Bread

I've been considering what I actually eat over the course of the week and I realized I've been consuming way too much sugar. After a little researching, it astonishing to find so many things contain sugar and Americans eat way too much of it. Not all sugars are bad, though they aren't necessarily great for you. White table sugar is so refined, there is nothing in it that is nutritional, which hopefully you all knew. So I set off to find a bread recipe that didn't contain sugar.

If you are going to sweeten your food, honey is a much better option. And if you can buy orange blossom honey from a farmers market even better. It hasn't be refined as much and your body can handle it so much better. Usually when I bake 100% whole wheat my food does not come out how I imagine. But this recipe was by far the best 100% whole wheat bread I've come across and it has so few ingredients. I wish I could afford to buy Great Harvest bread on a regular bases, but at $6 a loaf that is steep, even if we weren't on a student budget. Now I don't plan on always making my own bread because, a) we usually end up eating the loaf within 24 hours and b) it's too much work. But this was perfect to go along with our homemade chicken noodle soup.

100% whole wheat bread
adapted from

2 3/4 c hot water {run water and hold your finger under, once it starts getting too hot to keep your finger in the water it's ready}
1/3 c olive oil
1/3 C + 2 T honey
1 T salt
7 1/2 c 100% whole grain wheat flour
2 T dry yeast {I used rapid rise}

Mix water, oil, honey and yeast together and let bubble, about 10 minutes. Add salt. Slowly add flour, you don't want it to be too dry. It should be sticky to the touch. Once mixed, leave in the bowl and cover with a towel and let rise for 45 minutes. It doesn't have to double in size. Grease two medium bread pans. On a flour surface kneaded the bread and separate into two loaf and place in pans. Cover and let rise again, about 30-45 minutes. Preheat oven to 350. Bake for about 34 minutes. With about 10 minutes left I had to cover the bread with tin foil to prevent the top from burning.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

I have been out of the blogging world lately. For the past two weeks I've felt like I can't keep up with anything! However, I do have only the most delicious cookie recipe to share! I got this recipe in high school from a friend of a friends mom. It's been a while so I don't remember who. So unfortunately I can't give credit where credit is due. These are seriously sooo good. I can't make them very often because my husband and I just sit and eat them And they aren't exactly "healthy" to say the least. In all seriousness you have HAVE to try them. They are quite possibly my favorite cookie. Oh just so you are warned... this recipe makes a lot of cookies.

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies


1 cup butter - softened
1 cup peanut butter
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cup flour

2 packages mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

Cream together the first 6 ingredients using an egg beater. Then add the baking soda, salt and flour until well mixed. Roll in to one inch balls and place inside a well greased mini muffin tin. Bake at 375 degrees for 7-10 minutes. The cookies will be golden brown on top and the centers of the cookies should be sunken in a bit. After removing the pan from the oven immediately place unwrapped peanut butter cups in the center of each cookie. Let cookies stand about 5-10 minutes before removing from tins.

makes about 40-50 cookies

Notes: I used a silicone mini muffin tin {I guess it's not really a tin if it's silicone} it makes taking out the cookies a lot easier because you can just pop them out. I've also lined the pan with mini muffin paper liners to make removing them easier.

Acorn Squash Peach Baked Chicken

Technically it's still summer, but Autumn is just around the corner and I'm getting so excited. Today was the first day it felt like it's cooling down, however looking at the weather forecast it's going to be back in the 80s soon enough. I'm not complaining, but I would like to be able to go to the park without sweating.

More proof that Autumn is coming are the squashes and gourds that are filling the bins at the grocery store. I picked up an acorn squash with no plans for it, but after watching a recent documentary, Forks Over Knives, I'm really trying to focus on more vegetables and fruits in our diet. We do pretty good, but there is always room for improvement.

I'm so happy I stumbled across this recipe. It was really good. I didn't have chicken thighs or legs, like the recipe called for, but I'm sure it would taste even better if I had. Or even a whole chicken. Once again it has rosemary. I promise I use other seasonings. This meal was so good my 2 year old ate it all up.

Acorn Squash Peach Baked Chicken
adapted from Taste of Home

2 small acorn squash
2-4 minced garlic cloves
2 T olive oil
4 chicken drumsticks & 4 bone-in chicken thighs {or 2 chicken breast cut into smaller pieces}
1/4 c packed brown sugar
1 T rosemary
1 t Kosher salt
1 can sliced peaches in 100% juice, undrained

Cut squash in half lengthwise; discard seeds. Cut each half widthwise into 1/2 in slices; discard ends. Place slices in ungreased 13x9 baking dish. Rub garlic over squash and drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil. In a skillet, brown chicken in remaining oil. Arrange chicken over squash. Combine the brown sugar, rosemary and salt; sprinkle over chicken and squash. Bake, covered at 350 for 45 minutes. Pour peaches over chicken and squash. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes or until meat is cooked through.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Breakfast Burrito

I got a request for a kid friendly meal. I don't know about you, but it's exhausting thinking up things to make for lunch for a toddler. Everything I read says they like repetition, but I'm pretty sure my son can only handle a pb&j, or noodles so much. But I hate doing a big meal for lunch when I still have to cook dinner. I'll be honest some days he just has snacks all day, because I don't feel like arguing. Often times I'll give my son greek yogurt for lunch with some granola and frozen blueberries in it. He loves it, and it's easy.

My son loves to eat things that come on sticks or rolled up. We've been known to put whatever meal we are eating on toothpicks because he will eat it up. Also if we call it baby he'll eat it. The other day he ate just vegetables from a stir fry because we called them baby carrots, baby peas and baby corn. Worked like a charm. The other day I made him a breakfast burrito for dinner. Oddly he likes beans and eggs so it was a perfect option.

1 egg, beated and mixed with milk {get cage free, there is a noticeable difference, the yolk is a better color and holds up better}
1/4 c black bean
1/8 c grated cheese
2 T chopped Kale
1 flour tortilla
1 T Coconut oil

Heat coconut oil in frying pan and satuee Kale for a few minutes. Add egg mixture and scramble together. You really can add whatever you like but I put sour cream, cheese, and mashed black beans on the tortilla topped with scrambled eggs and rolled it tight. It fit perfectly in my sons hand and he ate it up.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Sweet Potatoe Fries

I'm sure many of you have seen sweet potato fries popping up at many restaurants these days. We love them. I actually prefer them to french fries, though I still occasionally have a craving. Making sweet potato fries is very easy and doesn't involve a deep fryer. Sweet potato fries are not crispy, instead they are soft and delicious. The hard part is cutting them. Sweet potatoes are a lot harder to cut then a white potato, so watch your fingers.

Now many times when I go to buy a sweet potato I cannot find a sweet potato but yams. While researching the difference online I came across this blog that examined the difference. Turns out what we call a yam is really a sweet potato, though there are different kinds. After reading the blog it seems that what I usually pick up is a camote, they are bigger.
2 sweet potatoes
Lemon Pepper
Kosher salt
Italian Seasoning
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 475. Cut the sweet potato in half long ways. Cut in half again and then cut into strips. Line a baking pan with tin foil {saves on clean up} and drizzle olive oil coating the pan. Spread the sweet potato strips so they are even, then season to taste with salt, lemon pepper and Italian seasoning. Bake for 20 minutes.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Honey Lime Fruit Salad

I made this fruit salad for the first time at the beginning of the summer. Since then I've made it at least 5 times. Each time I've tried a new fruit in it and each time I've gotten compliments on this yummy salad! I love how fresh and light it is! I got the original recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe. It originally called for some canned fruits but I modified the recipe to use all fresh fruits. So much better!

Honey Lime Fruit Salad
adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe


1 cup strawberries, quartered
1 cup grapes
2-3 kiwis peeled and sliced in to half moons
4 clementines peeled and sectioned
2 cups fresh pineapple chunks
zest from 1 lime
2 tbs honey

Combine fruit in medium sized bowl. Add lime zest and drizzle honey over the fruit. Gently mix until evenly coated. Serve.

Serves 4

Notes: This salad is works best if you add the lime and honey right before serving. Otherwise the strawberries turn everything pink. It still tastes great it just doesn't look as pretty!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo

Alfredo sauce is a personal weakness of mine. All of that heavy whipping cream, butter and cheese...yum! Not exactly the most healthy of foods. I swear it's just short of a million calories, not to mention loaded with saturated fats. For a while, I thought I was doomed and I would have to cut this out of my diet or accept my fate and clog my arteries. And then I stumbled on this little gem of a recipe from Cook This, Not That! Have you ever heard of Cook This, Not That? If not, you have now! It's all about cooking your favorite restaurant meals in to healthier meals at home. I cook out of it all of the time! And I seriously l-o-v-e this Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo Sauce. LOVE. I often find myself going for third second helpings! The best thing about it, is it's a great way to sneak in vegetables for those picky husbands kids!

Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo
recipe adapted slightly from Cook This, Not That!

10oz pasta
2 tbs butter
2 tbs flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup half and half
3/4 cup chopped roasted red peppers
2 cloves garlic, halved
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions.
Melt butter in sauce pan over medium heat. Add flour to butter until well mixed {be careful not to burn}. Slowly add the milk and half & half. Whisk to prevent lumps from forming. Add chopped red peppers, garlic and cheese. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes, stir often. Pour mixture in to blender and puree until smooth and uniform in color or you've reached desired consistency. {I made mine with little chunks of red pepper}. Return to pan, salt and pepper to taste and continue simmering until pasta is done. Pour over prepared pasta.

Serves 4.

Notes: You can find bottled roasted red peppers at the store but the stores don't always carry them. Or you can do what I did and roast your own with a tutorial like the one found here. It's pretty easy and only takes a little bit of extra prep time.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Rosemary Focaccia

Let's talk carbohydrates. While most of America hates them, in our household we LOVE them. I actually just finished reading "The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan and he talks about how Americans hate carbohydrates and instead we eat {way too much} meat. Which that doesn't seem to be doing anyone favors because hello have you heard there is an obesity epidemic.

To avoid that soap box {don't worry I don't claim to be a expert in eating healthy}, let's continue with carbohydrates. My view, if you eat enough of them it will make you work it off, because they are so dang good you can't avoid them. Especially bread. When it's covered in butter and seasoned with rosemary, my favorite seasoning.

I made this focaccia with the intent to serve it with dinner. Instead it became my dinner, because it was ready at 4:00 and how was I going to hold off until 6:00? Don't worry I ran four miles the next day in the heat and humidity so I think between the running and the bucket of sweat I burned it all off. But we enjoyed it so much I made it again, to use for bruschetta. The second time I used dried rosemary instead of fresh and it was equally delicious. And using it for brushcetta was amazing, it might have helped that we used fresh mozzarella. Yum.

Rosemary Focaccia
adapted from Our Best Bites

1 c. warm (105-115 degrees Fahrenheit) water
1 Tbsp. yeast
1 Tbsp. white sugar
1 tsp. Kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 Tbsp rosemary (dried or fresh), divided
1/4 tsp dried oregano leaves
1/4 tsp garlic powder
2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour

In a large mixing bowl, combine warm water, yeast, and sugar. Allow to stand for 10 minutes or until bubbly. While the yeast is getting bubbly, combine 2 C of the flour, salt, 1 1/2 Tbsp. rosemary, oregano and garlic powder.
Add flour mixture to yeast mixture along with 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Mix well. Slowly add remaining flour to make a very soft dough–try and resist the urge to add too much flour. You want a soft, wet dough. Cover and allow to rise 45 min- 1 hour or until double in size. Lightly flour your work surface and transfer dough onto this surface. Shape into a rounded loaf and place on a greased cookie sheet or pizza stone. Cover and allow to rise another 45 minutes. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Use remaining tablespoon of olive oil to brush over tops of loaves. Sprinkle with remaining rosemary and some Kosher salt. Bake for 20 minutes or until very lightly golden-brown.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Fried Zucchini Chips

I've been MIA for the past week. We went camping with my husband's family and then as soon as we got home I promptly came down with the flu or food poisoning. The mere thought of food has made my stomach turn. I've been living off of chicken noodle soup and jello for the past couple of days. It's been rather unpleasant. But now I'm back on my feet and ready to eat!

I've had my eye on this recipe for Zucchini Chips from 100 Days of Real Food for awhile. My mom and step dad have been growing a vegetable garden and dropped off some zucchini the other day and I knew just what to do with it! And it was tasty! I think next time I would also like to try baking them. The frying didn't exactly agree with my acid reflux ;)

2 medium zucchinis
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Thinly slice zucchini in to 1/8 to 1/4 inch slices {personally I prefer the thicker slices}. Beat eggs in a small bowl. Combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Put bread crumb mixture in to a shallow bowl. Take zucchini slice and dip in the beaten egg and then cover the zucchini in the bread mixture. Once all of the zucchini slices have been breaded heat the olive oil in a large saute pan on medium heat. Once the oil is hot add a layer of breaded zucchini slices to the pan. Cook 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Once cooked, place on plate with a paper towel to absorb excess oil.

Serves 4-6

Monday, August 15, 2011

Rosemary Citrus Chicken

I got this recipe from a recipe book my mother in law had. It's become one of our favorite meals. Growing up Sunday was always a nice, big meal. Since we are back in Virginia from our summer away I wanted to do a nice meal. I was able to pick up the chicken from the farmers market, for about the same price as the grocery store's organic chicken. I also picked up the rosemary at the farmer's market. This recipe calls for fresh rosemary and you must use fresh. I've never used otherwise, though I'm sure you can, but the flavor is more powerful with fresh. Typically I add red potatoes, but since we had friends over for dinner they brought the potatoes. This time I used homemade chicken broth using this method from the last time I made this recipe. It was delicious as always. Link
1 roasting chicken
salt and pepper
1 T whole fresh rosemary leaves
1 T finely chopped rosemary leaves
2 T olive oil
6 cloves garlic
1 lemon
1 orange
1 1/2 lbs red potatoes, cut up
1/2 bag carrots
2 c chicken broth

Preheat oven to 450. Season chicken cavity with salt and pepper. Cut lemon and orange in half. Set half of each aside for juicing later. Cut remaining orange and lemon in pieces. Loosely stuff cavity with cut up lemon, orange, whole rosemary leaves, 1 T olive oil, and 3 cloves garlic.

Squeeze juice from remaining orange and lemon into a small bowl. Add remaining 3 minced garlic cloves, 1 T olive oil, chopped rosemary, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Smear citrus mixture over the chicken. Place in roasting pan (I use a 9X13 glass dish) breast side up. Add the potatoes and carrots to pan. Season with salt and pepper then pour broth over them. Cover the pan with foil and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Uncover and cook for 15 more minutes.

Watch it get devoured.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Glazed Salmon with Broccoli

I got this recipe from Real Simple Magazine (they often have good, easy recipes). It is so delicious, it's usually my go to salmon recipe. I changed the recipe a little bit to fit my needs and it turned out good. I had some new potatoes still so I added it to the menu and it was a good addition. Even if you aren't a big salmon fan I'm sure one of these recipes will agree with your taste buds.

1/4 c brown sugar
2 T low-sodium soy sauce
1 c white rice
1 head broccoli (stems discarded), chopped
10 small new potatoes, halved
4 pieces skinless salmon fillets (1 1/4 lbs)
1 T olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Heat oven to 400. On a rimmed baking sheet place potatoes on sheet and season with 1 T olive oil and kosher salt and pepper. Roast about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a bowl combine sugar and soy sauce, set aside. In rice cooker cook 1 c rice to 2 c water. During last 3 minutes add broccoli. Let stand until broccoli is tender. Fluff with fork. When potatoes are done push aside and place salmon in the center. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon half glaze over salmon. Cook until salmon is opaque throughout, 8 to 10 minutes. Serve salmon with rice and the remaining glaze.

Monday, August 8, 2011

BBQ Chicken Pizza

Okay, Okay for my first post I know I'm not exactly adhering to our goal of mostly fresh... But I would like to think that this pizza is better for you than anything you might order in! Troy and I used to order pizza every Friday night because come Friday I was too burnt to out cook. That got expensive and overly greasy. Since my husband can't seem to go a whole week without eating his fave BBQ Chicken Pizza... I thought I'd try a hand at making my own. It was definitely easy and took me maybe all of 5 minutes?

*Notes: Sorry the measurements might be a bit off but it's pizza so you can honestly make it however you want! It's pretty hard to mess up! Also, I used green onions instead of red onions which are typically on BBQ Chicken Pizza. My husband doesn't like them but he doesn't mind green onions because they're more subtle. So if you like them I'd opt for the red onions! One more thing...this pizza doesn't make a whole lot especially if you have a husband like mine :) So if you are making this for more than 2-3 people I'd make a second pizza!

1 Boboli 12in 100% Whole Wheat Thin Crust Pizza
1/2 cup (ish) of your favorite BBQ sauce (I used Famous Dave's)
1-2 cups shredded mozarella cheese depending on preference
2 cups shredded chicken
4 strips pre-cooked bacon cut in to pieces
3 green onions chopped (about a 1/2 cup)

Preheat oven according to the directions on the Boboli package I believe it's about 450 degrees.

Spread BBQ sauce on pizza crust leaving a one inch border around the pizza. {Honestly, I just squirted the sauce directly on the crust until I got my desired amount. I estimated it was about a half cup. Do what suits you.}
Sprinkle on the cheese and then add chicken, bacon and green onions.

Bake 8-10 minutes. I put mine on parchment paper to make clean up a snap!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Chicken Posole

I love Mexican food. LOVE IT! The husband, not so much! But with following the Real Simple menu for a month we ate it. I really liked chicken posole. Definitely a meal for a cool day (which was not yesterday). I made some adaptions to the chicken. The recipe called for shredded rotisserie chicken, which would have been a lot easier, but my way was cheaper. I took about six chicken breasts and thawed them. Then seasoned with red pepper and oregano, wrapped in three different tin foil packets and baked at 450 for about 30 minutes. Then I used a fork to shred the chicken. Yum! Chicken posole has a nice spiciness to it and the lime added some good flavor.

1 T olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
Kosher salt
black pepper
32 oz chicken broth
1 can 28 oz diced tomatoes
1/4 crushed red pepper
2 cups shredded chicken
1 can hominy, rinsed (you can find hominy in the Mexican aisle and it comes in a 29 oz can, at least that's all I found, and I used the whole can)
1 lime, cut into wedges

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and 1/4 t of salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and beginning to brown, 10-12 minutes. Add the broth, tomatoes and pepper and bring to a boil. Stir in the chicken and hominy and simmer until heated through. Serve with lime. Serves 4.