Saturday, December 20, 2014

Spicy Teriyaki Sauce

Some sort of spicy sauce to put on fish... that was my goal of the night. And after some squabbling with my computer, I found this little inspiration, minus that crappy tofu. As usual, measurements are out the window, but the one thing I can say is that I used boatloads more sugar than suggested.

Minced garlic
Green onion
Toasted sesame seeds
Soy sauce
Sesame oil
Red pepper flakes
Brown sugar

Throw it all in a pan, I boiled it until it was a thicker consistency and then voila!
(apparently I forgot to take a picture, but basically, it looks like any teriyaki sauce)

I used it as a dipping sauce, but it would probably make a good glaze for baking, stir frying, or BBQing too! I love a good sauce and this turned out, again, better than all of those bottles I have bought.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Menu Plan Monday 11/3-11/7

Did you know it's NaBloPoMo?  I had no idea until about 15 minutes ago so I'm a little late to the party but that's not surprising.  I also found out today was National Sandwich Day on my way to work, where I brought a salad for lunch.  Clearly I need a better calendar system.  Maybe there's a Google Calendar plug-in for every holiday ever invented?  In fact, I Googled "national sandwich day" and randomly picked a result so I could see what tomorrow is.  I was supes excited to see that tomorrow is allegedly National Chicken Lady Day and then immediately disappointed that the day has nothing to do with the Kids in the Hall character.

So all that to say, here's my dinner menu plan for the week:

Pork tenderloin with garlic and rosemarycouscous and sauteed kale

Turkey chili

Takeout (class night)


Spaghetti bolognese, garden salad and garlic bread

Honestly, my shopping trip this week was poorly planned so while we have enough to eat through the week, I feel like I can do better. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Inspired to Share: Queso and Swayze Sauce

I just happened across this video and I want everything in it right now. I want to make it and eat it and maybe also swim in it. But I am not going to the store again today.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Sausage and artichoke soup

Breakfast sausage is so versitile! I love to use it in place of other meats when I am feeling creative, or when it is the only thing in the freezer. This started out as a soup based on two things I couldn't use up in the freezer, artichokes and breakfast sausage, but turned into a soup that I love making and eating. It is super easy and serves as an uncommon twist on vegetable soup.

Start with chopping a standard soup base of celery, carrot and onion. Then cook your sausage in your soup pot. I like my sausage to get pretty brown and crispy, then add the celery, carrot and onion to saute for a bit, and then remove the excess fat. Add your stock (if using canned artichokes, you may hold them out until a little later so they don't fall apart).

Add the spices of your choice (I like basil, parsley, allspice, Cavender's and pepper) and then bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cover. Simmer for 20 or so minutes, add your artichokes if you left them out, check your spices, and then simmer for another 15 minutes or so.

Ladle yourself up a bowl (maybe with some Fiesta cornbread!) and warm up with some awesome soup. The veggies are so tender and somehow the sausage seems to fit so much better than chicken or beef!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Fresh Fig & Caramelized Onion Flatbread

April since we posted? Man, we suck. Well, shit happened, but I am back. Cooking for the first time in 2 months and I wanted some damn figs! It's fall, so I found them and I only had to go to 2 stores to get them.

About a summer ago I was at the Plaza, bopping around, wasting time and money with a friend. The sun was blazing and there is really no shade in the middle of all of those expensive-ass stores so we decided to duck into the closest restaurant, which happened to be Seasons 52. They serve stuff that is "inspired by the season" which is hippy nonsense, but the food was delicious. I had a flatbread pizza with fig and arugula and a few other things I can't remember that inspired this recipe.

Flatbread dough (I used this recipe)

Fresh fig, thinly sliced
Baby Kale
Caramelized onions

Make the flatbread dough first, this is the long part. But you can freeze some of it for later. While the dough is rising or thawing (depending on your pre-planning), caramelize your onions in some butter, and slice your figs. Don't over-cook your onions because they will continue to cook in the oven.

I didn't use exactly the ingredients called for, but whatev. It was still ok.

 I also didn't use a food processor or a mixer with a dough hook. I'm a rebel.

Preheat the oven to 450. If you have a pizza stone, good for you.

Roll out the dough on a piece of parchment (on a baking sheet if no stone) for easy transfer to the oven. I actually used my hands to pat it out, it didn't really require a roller.

Then I cut thin slices of room temp brie and placed them on the crust and covered them with about 1/2 the onions. Then I piled on the fig slices and kale, alternatingly... yes, this is a word... and then finished with the rest of the onions.

Pop the whole thing in the oven for 15-18 minutes, until the crust is a lovely brown.

Awesomeness! I was worried that the crust wouldn't crisp up under the weight of the toppings, but no problem at all.

You want to eat it right now don't you? I don't blame you. It is beautiful. It could have even used more of each of the toppings piled on. This crust was a little thick, maybe a roller would have helped...

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Fiesta cornbread

Cornbread is about the only bread that I have successfully made taste good when I cook it. Also, it is probably the least labor and tool intensive of any bread I have made. Therefore, I have many cornbread variations, both savory and sweet. This savory version is cheesy and peppery and fun and the most delicious thing you will ever eat. EVER!

2 tbsp butter
1/4 c chopped anaheim pepper
1/4 c chopped onion
1 tbsp chopped pimento
Jiffy corn muffin mix
1 egg
2/3 c milk
1/2 c roasted corn
1 c shredded cheese

Preheat the oven to 400.

Melt the butter in a small pan and saute the pepper, onion and pimento until softened. It seems like a lot of butter, but there is a creaminess that you want to achieve in the final product and this is an aid. In a medium bowl, combine the Jiffy mix, egg and milk (I use about twice the milk called for in the original Jiffy recipe because the other ingredients suck up the moisture). Add the pepper mixture and corn to the bowl and combine. Then add the cheese and combine.

Grease a loaf pan, and then pour the mixture in the pan, and pop in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Test with a toothpick, make sure it comes out clean.

Enjoy with pretty much anything! Soup, enchiladas, pork roast, or just eat the whole pan with a spoon secretly while hiding from your family... IT IS THAT GOOD! It's like the inverse of a fruit pie, but better! Hang on... I gotta go eat some more... YYYYUUUUMMMMMMM!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Preserved Meyer Lemons

I picked up a bag of Meyer lemons the other day at the grocery store because they looked absolutely beautiful and I couldn't pass them up. I had never eaten one raw, and I highly recommend it... if you enjoy lemons otherwise. I love eating wedges of lemon and these are just a little sweeter version. My bag had about 7 of them so I wanted to find a couple other uses then just eating them straight. I did some Googling and found some articles on preserving lemons and how easy it was, so I decided to give it a shot.

Get yourself a jar that seals well, some kosher salt and your lemons. Cut a bit off each end of the lemon and then quarter them. Put a little salt in the bottom of the jar and cover the wedges in the salt as well. Cram those suckers in there, so much so that some of the juice squeezes out. Make sure that when the jar is full that there is enough juice to cover all the lemons, and add more juice if not.

Seal it up and label the date you crammed them, because now you have to wait 3 whole weeks to use them! Leave them on the counter for a couple days and then put them in the fridge for the rest of the 3 weeks. Flip the jar upside down every once in a while.

I read several places that you are supposed to discard the flesh and then only use the rind once they are preserved, but I say, hey, need salt and lemons in a recipe, use that part. After those 3 weeks, lemon it up to your hearts content! I used some to make a fish tagine that was... interesting, though I don't think the interestingness was the fault of the lemons.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Dave joked to me the other day that my body content is 80% sour cream.  Which is probably true considering how much of that deliciousness I was eating with my breakfast when he said.  So much, in fact that I almost reached for his ramekin of sour cream after I finished mine.

There's no real point to this anecdote other than a) I love sour cream and b) this recipe uses it.

This recipe is slightly adapted from Iowa Girl Eats' Lazy Girl's Chicken Enchilada Casserole but I made a few modifications.  First, I made the enchilada sauce.  It's not turribly difficult to make and I wanted to try this tomato-less sauce.  The sauce recipe I used is listed below and I used the full 2 cups it yielded 'cuz we like things nice and saucy!

So without futher ado,

Chicken Enchilada Casserole (slightly adapted from Iowa Girl Eats)

1 lb chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup sour cream
1 batch enchilada sauce (below) or 2 cups prepared sauce
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
4 oz can of diced chiles
8ish corn tortillas, cut into strips
1 cup shredded cheese 
salsa, for serving
green onions, for serving
extra sour cream, for serving

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick spray and set aside.  Season chicken with salt and pepper and brown in a well-oiled skillet.  Remove from heat.  Mix sour cream, enchilada sauce, corn and chiles in a large bowl.  Add chicken and tortilla strips to the bowl and mix well.  Pour mix into baking dish and top with cheese.  Bake for 20 minutes.  After allowing to cool slightly, serve garnished with salsa, green onions and sour cream.

Enchilada Sauce (slightly adapted from Gimme Some Oven)

1/2 onion, minced
2 tbsp canola oil
2 tbsp flour
3 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp Chipotle Southwest seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp oregano
2 cups chicken broth

Put a pan over medium heat.  Add minced onion and cook until slightly softened.  Add oil and flour and stir until slightly browned.  Add seasonings and stir well.  Slowly add chicken broth and stir well while it thickens, about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Meal Plan Monday (3/3-3/8)

You might've noticed some recipes move from week to week.  This is my way of using up things in our fridge before they go bad if we veer from the menu plan.  Which happens quite a bit.

When I was planning this menu yesterday morning, it was 60 degrees and humid.  Today it's 25 and we've had an ice storm overnight so that may change the way we eat this week.  We'll see...

Lunch: Tomato soup (canned)
Dinner: Chicken Noodle soup (homemade)
Lunch: Chicken Noodle soup
Dinner: Jet's Pizza!
Lunch: Arnold's!! (only the best soul food in Nashville)
Dinner: Pork loin rice bowls
Lunch: rice bowls
Dinner: Honey Sriracha chicken thighs and roasted sweet potatoes
Lunch: TBD
Dinner: Butter chicken and curry roasted broccoli
Lunch: Sandwiches
Dinner: Pesto tortellini

Monday, February 24, 2014

Meal Plan Monday (2/24-3/1)

I reviewed my meal plan from last week and while it accurately reflects how my meal planning goes, it doesn't reflect what we actually ate.  I think meal planning is important for grocery shopping and it's nice to not have to decide what to eat when you're already hungry.  But there's no point in feeling bad if you don't adhere to the plan.  At least I don't.  So here's my plan for this week. I'm including lunches this week because I feel like that's a place where I could step up on planning.  And I'm struggling with a lunch plan so here's hoping we have enough leftovers not to starve!

Lunch: Chicken, veggie and couscous bowl
Dinner: Beef stroganoff with egg noodles and roasted asparagus
Lunch: leftover stroganoff
Dinner: Takeout
Dinner: Pork loin rice bowls
Lunch: with colleagues
Dinner: Penne with bleu cheese sauce
Dinner: Creamy tomato basil soup with crostini
Dinner: Pesto and chicken white pizza

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Meal Plan "Monday"

I try to make a meal plan every week that will guide my grocery shopping.  Most weeks I do okay, which is fine with me.  Cooking after work seems like a good idea when it's Sunday morning, I have a giant mug of tea and all the time in the world to flip through cookbooks and food blogs for inspiration.  I'm going to start posting my meal plans in hopes that I will be further motivated to cook.  Let's see how it goes?

Dinner Plan 2/17-2/22

Monday: One Pan Coconut Shrimp bowls
Tuesday: takeout (class on Tuesday night = no cooking)
Wednesday: Roasted chicken breast with couscous and spinach/arugula salad
Thursday: Baked potatoes with broccoli cheese soup
Friday: Dinner and a movie?
Saturday: Beef stroganoff

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Shrimp and Cucumber Brunch Salad

Brunch is my JAM! A decadent brunch buffet is one of the best treats I can think of. I happen to be in love with many of the dishes on the Paulo and Bill's brunch buffet, but one of my favorites is a shrimp and cucumber salad that they don't even list on the website. Apparently they don't think as highly of it as I do. This is my spruced up version.

Shrimp (boiled until just pink and cooked through, then ice bath 'em)
Cucumber, peeled and seeded
Tomato, seeded
Yellow bell pepper, roasted and cooled
Baby greens

4-5 tbsp Olive oil
2-3 tbsp Red wine vinegar
1 tsp Honey
1 clove Roasted minced garlic
1/4 tsp Onion salt
1/2 tsp Garlic salt
1/4 tsp Oregano
1/4 tsp Thyme
1/4 tsp Basil
1/2 tsp Parsley
1/4 tsp Black pepper
Pinch Red pepper flakes

For the dressing, combine all of the ingredients in a lidded container, and shake it like crazy. Then chop/cube all of the salad ingredients into about 1/2 inch - 1 inch pieces. I like to chop the greens too so that it mixes in well. Combine everything in a large bowl and coat it in the dressing. Cover and put it in the fridge for about 2 hours (enough time to get really cold and marinate), and then serve cold (in a beautiful hand-painted bowl from Algeria that you got as a Christmas gift).

And I tell you... GOOD GERTY, THIS IS AMAZING. I want to eat this every day. It is crisp and tangy and fresh and freaking awesome. The avocados limit the amount of time that leftovers will stay good, but that just means you have to eat it all faster.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Wilted Spinach

Wilted spinach can be totally delicious... as long as you don't buy it frozen... and as long as you mix some interesting stuff into it. My current favorite is a combination of dried fruit and nuts. If you want to get real crazy you can toss in some cheese too. Basically, choose something from column A, B and C.

Column A                        Column B                          Column C
Currants                                       Pecans                                            Parmesan
Golden raisins                           Slivered almonds                       Feta
Cranberries                                Walnuts                                          Blue
Dates                                             Pine nuts
Apricots                                       Sunflower seeds

What I like to do is saute a giant wad of spinach in a pan with a liiiiiiiittle bit of olive oil and wilt the shit out of it. Like to 1/5 its original volume. You might like it crunchier, tis your preference.


Turns into this...

I actually would have liked to cook it down even a bit more, it was a little watery for my taste.

Then I make a little hole in the middle and toast the nuts in the pan for a few minutes. You can do this in different pans or do one, remove it and do the other, but my way is the nice and lazy way.

Then toss in the fruit and or cheese, toss it all around, and have yourself a flavorful little side dish!

I went cheeseless because I served it with another cheesy side dish along with my pork chop. Side note, I used this method to cook the chops and GAAADDAYAM they were delicious.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Chocolate Chip Currant Low-carb Cookie Cake Thing

I decided to try to make a low-carb baked good that didn't taste like shit, or more specifically, weird spongy eggy shit. I tried a couple recipes that used just almond flour or coconut flour and they required so many eggs that eggs were all I could taste (and I hate eggs). I was searching the fancy-pants aisles at the grocery store and came across something called Low-Carb (or crab as I just type... hahahahaha low-crab baking!... heh) Baking Mix which had a bunch of different expensive ingredients mixed together.

I adapted a traditional choco-chip cookie recipe to incorporate the baking mix and xylitol, which is a sugar substitute that I actually think tastes good. It is made from birch trees (if you get the right brand, some are made from corn) and has a very low glycemic index which makes it better for diabetics.

I decided to include a little molasses since most cookie recipes call for brown sugar too, and I wanted to stick with the xylitol. I am not sure if it was necessary, but it made the batter look the right color.

I also went high on the salt to try to balance out the extra-sweet taste of the xylitol. I was a bit worried when I tasted the batter that it would be too sweet, but the finished product was definitely not overly sweet.

They didn't come out like cookies exactly, so much as like a dense cookie flavored cake, which all in all, I think is a win. The baking mix is very "whole grain" in flavor and texture, so it is kind of muffin-y in that sense. Still, I like it, and it is worth eating. Although the baking mix is expensive and so is the xylitol, so at some point it may be worth just making regular baked goods and eating smaller portions of them.

Post script... these are really growing on me. Two days later I am loving them! They are so different than anything else I have made, and the combo of chocolate and currants is just delightful.

2 c Red Mill Low-Carb Baking Mix
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
1 c butter
1 c xylitol
1 tsp molasses
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
chocolate chips to taste
currants to taste

Preheat over to 375 degrees. Grease a large pan. Beat butter, sugar, molasses and vanilla in a large bowl, then beat in each egg. Gradually mix in baking mix, baking soda and salt. Stir in chocolate chips and currants. Spread into pan, bake 20 minutes.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Dave came back from our Thanksgiving trip home with a cold and when asked what kind of soup he wanted, he told me "chicken tortilla soup but no tomatoes".  I did some Googling and voila!  Pioneer Woman had a chicken tortilla soup that sounded delicious though I had to do some tweaking because Dave later informed me he didn't want beans in it either.  Which I later found out was good because we'd eaten all the canned beans we usually keep stocked.  You'll notice I added tomato paste to the soup.  First of all, I asked Dave if it would hurt his feelings if I added the paste and he allowed it.  It doesn't add a tomato-y flavor but it adds a depth that worked well with the spices.

This tasty soup was warm and filling and I wanted to make it again because we ate it rather quickly.  I haven't made it again yet but we still have some corn tortillas left so I'll probably make it again soon.


2 whole boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 onion, diced
6 sweet mini peppers, diced (could use 1 bell pepper instead)
3 cloves garlic
4oz can diced green chiles
4 14 oz cans chicken broth
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
2 tbsp tomato paste
4 corn tortillas cut into strips
sour cream
shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 375.  Mix together cumin, chili powder, garlic powder and salt in a small ramekin.  Drizzle chicken breasts with about 1 tablespoon olive oil and enough seasoning mix to coat both sides.  Place seasoned breasts in a glass dish and roast about 20 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.

While the chicken is roasting, drizzle about 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pot over medium heat.  Saute onion and bell peppers a couple of minutes, until they start to soften.  Sprinkle with remaining spice mix and stir until veggies are well coated.  Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add the green chiles and chicken broth and bring to a simmer.  Let simmer while your chicken cooks.

Let chicken rest about 5 minutes after removing from oven.  Cut into pieces and add to soup.  Simmer about 5 minutes.  Add corn and tomato paste.  While flavors are melding, slice up your tortillas and cut up avocado.  Place a small handful of tortilla strips to your serving bowl, ladle soup over it and garnish with avocado, sour cream, cilantro and shredded cheese.  Then eat up!

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman