Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

I haven’t put up a recipe or food post lately, primarily because I was refrigerator-less for 10 days thanks to Best Buy’s awesome customer service (can you read the sarcasm?).  The coils were getting cold… but the sensor connected to the defrosting mechanism was incapacitated so the fans froze up, leaving us with a 60 degree fridge.  Thank God the freezer was still kicking, it was stuffed, we would have been outta luck for sure.

I didn’t want to cook, because I have a tendency to make much more food than necessary (though, it’s happening less and less because my honey throws portion control to the wind) and I didn’t want there to be any leftover going to waste.  So, Bumble Bee tuna became my best friend. I’ve never been a big tuna salad fan, but… you gotta do what you gotta do.

So, I am now (officially) the queen of tuna salad.

Thanks to my friend… this jar of pickled jalapenos, olives, and garlic.  Originally purchased for use in martinis… this condiment changed my tuna-salad-hating-now-loving life.

Can of tuna.  2 tbsp mayo.  1.5 tbsp chopped jalapeno/garlic/olive magic.  1 dill pickle wedge chopped.  S&P to taste… a couple oil-packed sundried tomatoes, chopped, if you’re feeling adventurous.  On a sandwich.  With crackers.  However you roll.  Best tuna salad you’ve ever had in your life.

As delicious as this tuna salad was… it was not as beautiful.  So, the next time i decide to indulge my new passion, I’ll work on the presentation and share.

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chicken piccata

Chicken Piccata

I love crispy, battered, deep fried chicken.  LOVE it.  However, you will rarely ever see me make it because, as much as I love it, I know how terrible it can be for you.  If I managed to perfect fried chicken, I would make it far too often.  So, not that it wins healthiest dish of the year, but, breaded chicken is my replacement.  This breaded chicken cutlet recipe is simple and versatile.  Shown here, they are easily made into Chicken Piccata.  But they can also be made into yummy Chicken Parmesean or (using the same technique but with chicken tenderloin rather than breasts) Chicken Fingers.

This recipe is great.  Though my honey consistently loves what I cook, this is the first thing he told me I need to make every week.  Yay, obviously a job well done.  My honey has discerning taste.

Chicken Piccata

  • 2 whole chicken breasts
  • 1.5 c flour
  • 1.5 c bread crumbs
  • 1/4 tsp basil
  • 1/4 tsp marjoram
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp rosemary
  • 1/3 tsp thyme
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp water
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 3 lemons
  • 1 c chardonnay (or another dry white)
  • 1 tbsp capers (optional)
  • parsley
  • S&P

For the cutlets…

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Split chicken breasts in half.  With meat tenderizer, pound the chicken breasts until they are thin (1/4 inch or so).  Liberally season with S&P.  Heat a medium/large skillet on medium heat. Line up the breading assembly line.  Bowl 1:  Flour and enough equal parts S&P for the flour to appear speckled.  Bowl 2:  Beat the eggs and water.  Bowl 2:  Mix bread crumbs and seasoning.  Add 2 tbsp olive oil to pan.  Dredge first two chicken cutlets into the bowls in order (1,2,3), place in the olive oil.  Cook on each side until they are golden brown.  Transfer to a baking dish.  Add 2 more tbsp olive oil, dredge chicken cutlets, and so on and so forth.

Finish cutlets in the oven.  10 minutes should do the trick.  They should be firm to the touch.

For the sauce…

Wipe any fallen crumbs from skillet.  Over medium-low heat, melt 4 tbsp butter.  Add lemon juice from 2 lemons, wine, capers (if using).  Allow to reduce to half.  Take off of the heat.  Add the rest of the butter (cube it first, it will melt faster than a big stick).  Serve on top of crispy and moist cutlets with 1 or 2 slices of lemon.  Garnish with parsley.



P.S.  Please please please get some cooking wine from the wine section and not the food section – grab some 3 Buck Chuck from Trader Joe’s (if you are so lucky to have one nearby) or some Four Leaf from Walmart ($3).

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red velvet birthday cake with cream cheese frosting

food coloring + sprinkles = perfect for a 12 y.o. b-day

next time i will have to find matching candles

the cake was yummy, but not the best red velvet i’ve ever had…  i’m now on a mission to find (or write) the best red velvet cake recipe.  the cream cheese frosting, though, super simple + absolutely delicious.  thank you, paula deen. (frosting recipe here)

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Whole-y Guacamole

I love love LOVE guacamole.  Ever since my senior year of college when my G-love and I discovered our passionate love for it, I have been super excited about it.  We enjoyed using those dry seasoning packets that you get in the sauce aisle.  Just mashed up avocados and a seasoning packet.  Delish.  Then I found out that I can make guacamole just as easily and without any special ingredients.  Without all of those extra fillers and preservatives and all the extra mess that lived in the seasoning packet.  Even more delish.

What you need…

  • 4 ripe regular sized HASS avocados (emphasis added at the request of my mother)
  • 1 tbsp diced red onion
  • 2 tbsp diced tomatoes
  • 1 diced jalapeno
  • 1 lime
  • S&P
  • some cilantro leaves (if you like that kinda thing)

Seed the avocados, and deeply score them (like the following example) before you scoop out the meat with a spoon.

Add onion, tomato, and jalapeno.  Roll the lime on a flat surface to free up all the juice and squeeze.  Mash.  Salt & pepper to taste.   If you like, and if it’s handy, add a couple dashes of cumin to the mix.

At this point, I usually grab a couple tablespoons of cilantro-free guac for myself, set them aside, and then add the cilantro leaves (I keep them whole) by gently mixing them in.

P.S. — NYTimes had a cool article about why some people don’t like the taste of cilantro.  I always attributed it to some gene that made it taste like soap to me.  Maybe it’s psychosomatic.

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Curried Chicken

Curried Chicken.  Coconut Rice.  Creamed Spinach.

I have fond memories of my mother’s curried chicken from childhood.  And although I can’t remember her ever making curried chicken for me, my stepmother is of West Indian heritage.  Obviously, I needed to come up with a signature curried chicken of my own.  Served with some coconut rice, reminiscent of the islands, and some creamed spinach.

All recipes serve 3-4.

Coconut Rice (easy peasy) — 1.5 c rice, 2 c coconut water, 1 c water.  Salt & pepper to taste.

Creamed Spinach

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1.5 tbsp minced onion
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 c warm milk
  • 1 pkg frozen spinach
  • couple tablespoons of vegetable (or chicken, or beef) stock
  • S&P

Per directions on frozen spinach packet, defrost in microwave substituting the vegetable stock for water. Drain and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium / medium-low heat, melt butter.  Add onion and sautee until onions are translucent (not very long because the pieces are so small).  Add flour and combine.  Before flour becomes colored, add warm milk and stir to incorporate. Add drained spinach and season with S&P to taste.

Curried Chicken

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4 onion halved, then sliced thin
  • 2 – 3 large skinless, boneless, chicken breast cubed
  • 1/4 c curry powder
  • 1 c chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • S&P

Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet, on medium / medium-high heat and add onions.  Sautee briefly, when onions are starting to wilt, add chicken and season with S&P.  Cover and wait for chicken to cook through (3-5 min).  Uncover. Add half of your curry powder and half of the chicken stock, stir, and wait for the sauce to reduce.  Then, add the remaining curry powder and chicken stock stir and add flour to thicken.  Simmer for 10-15 minutes.

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Yellow Rice Recipe

I love the way yellow rice tastes with either Latin American dishes or in cajun or southern cuisine.  The only way I knew how to make it myself, was straight out of the box.  I decided this must end.  Came up with the following recipe for a delicious side dish — shown here with baked chicken ans slow cooked collard greens.

Homemade Yellow Rice

(serves 4-5)

  • 3/4 c wild rice
  • 3/4 c white rice
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp minced onion
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3 c chicken stock (or however much your rice cooker suggests)
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp cumin

Melt 1 tbsp butter in large skillet.  Add minced onion and garlic and sautee on medium-low heat until the onions are transparent.  Add wild & white rice to skillet and toast until all butter is absorbed and rice grains are glossy.  Transfer to rice cooker, add spices and chicken stock, turn rice cooker on… presto!  After cooking is complete, add last tbsp butter and stir.  Serve and enjoy.

Without rice cooker: Toast rice in a saucepan.  Add chicken stock and spices, bring to a boil.  Lower heat so the boil becomes a simmer, cover and cook at a gentle simmer until the water is completely absorbed and the rice is tender (12 min-ish).  Let sit, covered, for at least 5 min and fluff adding the last tbsp butter.  Serve and enjoy.

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I’m guilty of leaving bananas to ripen for too long far too often.  Usually I pop them in the smoothie when they get mushy — or sometimes I forget to use them at all and all hope is lost.  Another great use for the overripe bananas is delicious banana bread.  Growing up, my mother made delicious banana bread, and now it’s time for me to perfect my own special recipe.

Banana Bread

Right out of the oven, super moist the way banana bread should be.  I want to work on getting it a little sweeter and a little more banana-y.  The recipe is a work in progress, but even in it’s fledgling state, it’s  delicious!

Banana Bread #1

2 1/2 c all purpose flour

1/2 c sugar

1/2 c dark brown sugar

1 tsp salt

3 1/2 tsp baking powder

3 tbsp vegetable oil

2 large eggs

3/4 c milk

2 mashed ripe bananas

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine dry ingredients (flour, sugar, brown sugar, salt, baking powder) in a mixing bowl.  Stir to combine. In a separate bowl whisk eggs, oil, and milk together.  Combine wet mixture into dry mixture and fold in bananas and vanilla.  Use your mixer at a medium speed until well combined.  Pour into a greased and floured baking dish and bake for an hour.

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