Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Mexican Chicken and Quinoa Casserole

Mexican Chicken and Quinoa Casserole


Woah. This is one hearty meal. And the great thing about it is that it's SUPER healthy! It's packed full of veggies and mega amounts of protein from the chicken, beans, and quinoa. This is a perfect potluck comfort food that won't make you feel guilty. So tasty. Like a fiesta in your mouth.



Mexican Chicken and Quinoa Casserole
Recipe adapted from Savor the Rainbow


Ingredients:
  • 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 1 tsp EVOO
  • 1 med yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbs garlic, minced
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, no sodium added
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup sweet potatoes, cubed into small pieces
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 (1o oz) package of frozen spinach, thawed **
  • 1 small bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 Tbs tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (7 3/4oz) can of your favorite salsa
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar or mozeralla
* As always, feel free to add or swap any vegetables to your liking.  You can add broccoli, bell peppers, squash…
** Make sure you squeeze out much water as possible.
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F
  2. Cook quinoa: bring liquid to a boil then lower the heat to simmer, cover, and cook until soft, about 15 min.
  3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over med-high heat.  Add 1 tsp EVOO and sauté onion until lightly browned, about 5 min.  Add garlic, sauté  for 1 min.  Add the rest of the vegetables and combine well.  Add tomato paste.  Add chicken. Transfer mixture to a med bowl and stir in quinoa and beans.
  4. Add broth and salsa to the same pan, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 min, stirring occasionally.  Combine to the mixture.
  5. Pour the mixture in 11 by 7 in baking dish coated w cooking spray.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes.
  6. Feel free to garnish with crushed tortilla chips



Saturday, April 27, 2013

Salted Caramel Chocolate Popcorn

Salted Caramel Chocolate Popcorn


Thanks to Nick and the Salted Caramel Mocha at Starbucks, I am now OBSESSED with this combination of flavors. And since on of my all time favorite foods is popcorn, what better way to manifest this glorious combo of flavors than on popcorn! Whenever I think of kettlecorn, or fancy popcorn, I'm always reminded of those people at the county fair sweating profusely as they stir these massive kettles full of hot and gooey popcorn. It's not that hard. Trust me. And I swear this popcorn tastes just as good.


Salted Caramel Chocolate Popcorn
Recipe from Diethood


Ingredients
  • 6 cups popped popcorn (about 5 tablespoons unpopped)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Sea Salt, to taste
  • chocolate chips for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  • Preheat oven to 250.
  • Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil; set aside.
  • Place the popped popcorn in a large bowl; set aside.
  • Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.
  • Add brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt; stir until it starts to boil.
  • Let boil for 2 minutes without stirring.
  • Mix in baking soda and vanilla; mix until thoroughly combined.
  • Pour over popcorn, stirring to coat.
  • Add in chocolate chips and mix with a wooden spoon until chocolate is melted and thoroughly combined.
  • Spread popcorn over prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake for 30 minutes.
  • Remove, sprinkle with sea salt and let cool.
  • Garnish with chocolate chips and serve.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Banana Cupcakes with Nutella Frosting

Banana Cupcakes with Nutella Frosting


Last Saturday, my bestest friend and roommate of 4 years, the lovely Letitia, had her senior recital. Man, that girl is a BEAST at playing violin. These cupcakes paled so much in comparison to her performance. Some of her favorite flavors are bananas and nutella, so I thought what better way to celebrate and honor her than through banana nutella cupcakes!!! I loved that these cupcakes weren't overly sweet, which is a problem I have with most cupcakes. They were definitely still quite indulgent though...congrats on a successful senior recital Tee tee! I love you!


Banana Cupcakes with Nutella Frosting
Recipe from Kitchen Notes


Banana Cupcake Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large very big ripe bananas, pureed

Directions:
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-Line 16 muffin cups with paper liners.
-Sift the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt together in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
-Cream together the softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
-Add the vanilla and the eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition.
-Add the flour mixture and blend ingredients together until only just combined.
-Stir in the banana. Blend mixture until ingredients are fully incorporated.
-Portion batter into muffin cups.  This recipe with make about 16 cupcakes.
-Bake in preheated oven until cakes are light golden brown and tester comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes.
-After removing cupcakes from the oven, cool completely on a wire rack.
-Once completely cool, top with nutella frosting (recipe follows) and a sprinkle of chopped, toasted hazelnuts.

Nutella Frosting Ingredients:
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup nutella
8 ounces powdered sugar, by weight

Nutella Frosting Directions:
-Cream together the cream cheese and nutella until blended.
-Add the powdered sugar gradually until ingredients are combined.
-Mix on a high speed until frosting is smooth and creamy.
-Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip and pipe frosting over the top of each cupcake.



Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sriracha Honey Roasted Broccoli

Sriracha Honey Roasted Broccoli


Thanks to Nick, I've been obsessed with finding new sriracha recipes lately. Since I'm also obsessed with roasting broccoli, what better new adventure than to spice it up with some sriracha! This was a tasty lil' side dish that I highly recommend to anyone that loves this bright red hot sauce.


Sriracha Honey Roasted Broccoli


1 large head of broccoli, cut into bite size pieces, about 6 cups worth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon honey
1-2 teaspoons sriracha, adjust to your preference
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
1 green onion, thinly sliced, about 2 tablespoons

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a slipat mat or foil or parchment paper. In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, sriracha and pepper. Pour this mixture over the broccoli and toss well to coat.

Spread the broccoli across the lined baking sheet. Place on the middle oven rack and roast for 8-12 minutes, until the broccoli is tender and the edges are turning brown.

Remove the broccoli from the oven and transfer to a bowl. Toss with the green onions and the almonds and serve hot. Enjoy!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Strawberry Crumble Bars

Strawberry Crumble Bars


It's recital time yet again! For all you non-music majors out there, I'm sorry you can't experience the craziness that is recital season. It's a lovely time full of great friends, beautiful music, and (dare-I-say-it) even better food. Yes, I must admit, I really look forward to all those receptions. Yesterday my gorgeous friend Chiharu had her senior violin recital! It was quite the success and she sounded so amazing and looked so beautiful. Instead of bringing her flowers, I decided to make these bars in her honor. I love you Chi and am so proud of you!



Strawberry Crumble Bars
Adapted from Manu's Menu

Ingredients

Base:
1/2 cup sugar
1 2/3 cups flour, sifted
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 pinch salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 stick butter, melted

Strawberry filling:
1 lb strawberries, hulled and chopped
1/2 cup strawberry jam
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Crumble topping:
1 2/3 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
11 Tbsp cold butter, chopped

Instructions
Base:
  1. Line a 20×30 cm (8x12in) baking pan with baking paper.
  2. Put the sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, egg and butter in an electric mixer and mix until just combined.
  3. Press the mixture into the base of the prepared pan and bake it in a pre heated oven at 180°C – 350°F for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden and firm. Let it cool completely.
Strawberry filling:
  1. Put the strawberries, sugar and vanilla in a bowl and toss to combine. Keep aside.
Crumble topping:
  1. Put the flour, butter and sugar in an electric mixer and mix until just combined (it will look like coarse breadcrumbs).
Assembling
  1. Using a slotted spoon and shaking off the excess juice, distribute the strawberries over the cooked base. Top them with the crumble topping and bake it in a pre heated oven at 180°C – 350°F for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Mango Jalapeño Quesadilla

Mango Jalapeño Quesadilla


After experiencing the glory of Mango Fest at Whole Foods this past weekend, Nick and I were inspired to make mango quesadillas! We concocted this recipe last night and are quite proud of it. It's the perfect blend of sweet and spicy and will make your tummy and your tastebuds oh so happy. Stop making those boring quesadillas and get creative! It's rewarding.



Mango Jalapeño Quesadilla


2 tortillas
Jalapeño Jack cheese
Jalapeños sliced
Carmelized onion
Mango, sliced

Layer the jalapeño  onion, and mango on top of one tortilla. Top with cheese and then put the other tortilla on top. Heat a small pan over medium heat. Spray lightly with cooking spray and place quesadilla on the pan. Flip over once the bottom starts getting brown. Remove from the pan when the other side is browned and the cheese is melty. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Salted Caramel Mocha Scones

Salted Caramel Mocha Scones


The other day my lovely friend Robert and I were discussing the greatest flavor combinations. We decided that caramel, chocolate, and coffee are an UNBEATABLE combination. Of course my brain immediately started trying to decide what to make next with those flavors. I decided on scones! Since Robert's allergic to eggs, I made these babies eggless, but feel free to use real eggs, I'm sure they'll be just as tasty either way. 



Salted Caramel Mocha Scones
Adapted from Inside Brucrew Life
Ingredients
2/3 c. heavy cream
2 Tbsp. instant coffee
2 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
6 Tbsp. butter, chilled
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg (or 1 Tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 2 Tbsp water)
1 c. caramels cut into chunks
1 dark chocolate baking bar, cut into hearty chunks
1/2 dark chocolate chips, melted
2 tsp. sea salt
Instructions
  1. In a glass mug, heat the cream for 1 minute in the microwave. Stir in the instant coffee and set aside. Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. With a fork, cut in the butter until it creates small pea like pieces. Make a hole in the center of the flour and pour in the egg, vanilla and coffee cream. Stir until mixed thoroughly. Stir in caramel bits gently.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. The dough will be very sticky, so use a spoon to scoop out 6 scones. Form the dough into triangles, or whatever shape you want. Bake at 400 F for 16 or so minutes. The caramel melts all over,so immediately transfer to wire racks to cool. Drizzle with melted dark chocolate and sprinkle with a little sea salt. Store in a sealed container.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Cranberries with Barley

Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Cranberries with Barley


Roasting vegetables is probably one of my favorite things ever. Maybe not so much the roasting part as the eating part though...I swear, if I could only eat one thing for the rest of my life it would probably be roasted vegetables. The only annoying thing about roasting vegetables is that it takes SOOOO long. So basically you're drooling for 45 minutes, and that can just get messy. This recipe provides a quick and just as tasty alternative to roasting! 



Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Cranberries with Barley
Recipe adapted from Cookie and Kate


Ingredients
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, tips cut off, discolored leaves removed and sliced in half (smaller sprouts are better than large sprouts)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt
  • 2/3 cup fresh cranberries (or 1/3 cup dried cranberries)
  • 1/3 cup crumbled Gorgonzola or goat cheese
  • 1/3 cup freshly toasted cinnamon sugar pecans, 
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked barley, reheated (see instructions above)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup, or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, or more to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat your broiler.
  2. Set a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat on the stove. Let it heat up for two to three minutes. It should be so hot that a few drops of water sizzle and quickly disappear after contact.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, toss the prepared Brussels sprouts with olive oil and salt. Toss well, so that the sprouts are evenly coated in a thin layer of oil.
  4. Once the pan is hot, dump the sprouts into the pan and quickly rearrange them so the flat sides are face down. Let them cook for two minutes.
  5. Toss the fresh cranberries into the pan and transfer the pan to your broiler. The pan will be heavy and hot so use oven mitts and be careful! Let the Brussels broil for about three minutes. Check the sprouts for doneness—their tops should be a little browned and the bottoms caramelized. How long you should leave them in there depends on your preferences and your oven. The cranberries should have started popping by now; set the hot pan on your stovetop for a couple of minutes while you reheat the barley.
  6. Toss the warm barley, sprouts, cranberries, cheese and pecans in a bowl and drizzle with balsamic vinegar and maple syrup. Season with salt, divide into smaller bowls, and enjoy!
Notes
  • Inspired by Love and Lemons’ maple and balsamic roasted Brussels sprouts recipe and one of Mark Bittman’s recipes in The Food Matters Cookbook. The quick-roasted sprouts method is adapted from The Kitchn via Jacqui of So Good and Tasty (thanks Jacqui!).
  • Serves two.
  • I highly recommend using a 12-inch cast iron skillet rather than a large oven-safe, non-stick skillet because typical non-stick skillets release toxins at high temperatures.
  • Brussels sprouts are best cooked flat side down because the heat gets trapped inside the sprout and, in effect, steams it. It’s the best way to get crispy flat sides and cooked insides.
  • If you’re adding pecans, I recommend toasting the pecans over medium heat in a separate pan. They will burn over high heat.





Monday, April 8, 2013

Cake Mix Cookies

Cake Mix Cookies


BEWARE: these cookies will make you feel guilty because they are so ridiculously easy and are SO delicious. Plus it doesn't make a huge batch, so you'll probably start eating them and then realize there are only a few left, so you might as well eat ALL of them. That'll probably cause a lil' bit of guilt too. So if you feel guilty, you can't say I didn't warn you! These cookies are good for the creative type because you can basically mix anything you want into them. Chocolate chips, dried fruit, pretzels, nuts, popcorn...like I said, get creative. If you have friends who are allergic to eggs, try out the egg substitute. It's actually really good and I swear you can't tell the difference. (I personally liked the eggless cookies better...). Have fun!


Cake Mix Cookies

1 box of cake mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs OR 2 Tbsp of cornstarch mixed into 4 Tbsp water
Extra stuff: chocolate chips, chopped nuts, etc.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine cake mix, oil, and eggs in a bowl. Stir in extra stuff. Roll into small balls and plop onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes. After removing from the oven, let stand for 2 minutes, then move to a rack to cool. 

Here are the variations that are in the pictures:
Carrot cake mix with chopped toasted pecans and walnuts, sprinkled with powdered sugar
Double chocolate cake mix: with dark chocolate chips and dried cranberries

Friday, April 5, 2013

Whole-Wheat Strawberry Banana Muffins

Whole-Wheat Strawberry Banana Muffins



Last November I went to the great and glorious HEB (it's a grocery store in Texas), and came across these paper bags FULL of over ripe bananas. They were each priced at $2. There were LITERALLY 48 bananas in the bag. I was in heaven. So naturally I bought this huge bag and froze all the bananas! Though I've mostly just been melting them into my morning oatmeal, I've been trying to find more creative and intriguing recipes to use up all these bananas. I whipped these babies up the other day and they were lovely! They were surprisingly light and moist, unlike most whole wheat muffins I've ever had. I would suggest using white whole wheat flour as the texture and density is much more suitable to baking. White whole wheat flour is indeed still a whole grain and has the same nutritional benefits as regular whole wheat, it is just made from white wheat instead of brown wheat. Enjoy!




Whole-Wheat Strawberry Banana Muffins
Adapted from All Recipes

2 eggs
2/3 cup applesauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 bananas, mashed
2 cups whole wheat flour (I used white)
1 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 cup frozen sliced strawberries

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease 12 large muffin cups, or line with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, applesauce, oil, brown sugar, vanilla and bananas. Combine the flour, baking soda and cinnamon; Stir into the banana mixture until moistened. Stir in the strawberries until evenly distributed. Spoon batter into muffin cups until completely filled.
  3. Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the tops of the muffins spring back when pressed lightly. Cool before removing from the muffin tins.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Gumbo (all in the microwave)

Gumbo (all in the microwave)


This is seriously one of the coolest recipes ever. It tastes like you've been working on it for hours, but you hardly have to do ANYTHING. If you have a microwave and can press the buttons on it, then you can cook this soup. My mom used to make this and I always loved it. It wasn't until I saw her making it a couple years ago that she made it entirely in the microwave! I had no idea. This is good stuff people. Don't pass it up.

Gumbo (all in the microwave)

1 medium onion sliced
1/4 cup butter
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 cup water
2 (14 oz) cans stewed tomatoes
1 cup diced green pepper (2 medium)
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp pepper
1 lb raw shrimp (shelled, deveined) or 10 oz andouille sausage, sliced
2 pkgs (10 oz each) frozen okra, defrosted and cut into pieces

In 3 quart casserole dish, place onion and butter. Microwave on high for 2 minutes, stiffing after 2 minutes, until onion is limp. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together cornstarch and water. Add to onion along with tomatoes, green pepper, garlic, salt, nutmeg, pepper, shrimp/sausage, and okra. Stir well. Cover. Microwave at medium high for 29-31 minutes, stirring and recovering after 1/2 the time. Makes 6-8 servings.