Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Spicy Peanut Quinoa

This is a riff on Asian spicy soba noodles but using quinoa - my new best friend in the kitchen.  I recently spotted a large bag of it at Costco so now I'm obsessed with all things quinoa.  We love that it's a great protein, easily digestible, low on the glycemic index, gluten free and whenever we eat it, we all notice how filling it is.  I mean stuffed with good stuff!  This dish, along with some lovely roasted vegetables, makes for a healthy dinner or several yummy lunches. 

1 medium eggplant (about 12 oz.), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1 small onion, chopped
2 bell peppers, seeded and chopped
6 oz. snow peas
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 cup uncooked quinoa

Peanut sauce:
3 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. creamy peanut butter
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 tsp. freshly grated ginger
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper, to taste

To make the peanut sauce, combine the olive oil, soy sauce, and peanut butter in a bowl or measuring cup. Whisk to blend until smooth. Add in the garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes and whisk once more until smooth. Add the peanut sauce to the bowl with the quinoa and veggies. Gently fold together until everything is evenly combined. Let sit while you prep rest ingredients.

If using eggplant, combine the cubed eggplant and the salt; toss well to combine. Transfer to a colander in the sink and let sit 30 minutes to draw water out of the eggplant. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and press out excess water.

Preheat the oven to 400˚ F. Line a baking sheet with foil. On the baking sheet, combine the drained eggplant, onion, bell peppers and snow peas. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 - 30 minutes, stirring once or twice until nicely roasted or veggies caramelize in spots. Remove from the oven and let cool. While the vegetables are roasting, cook quinoa according to package directions.   Don't forget to rinse if not done so already to remove any bitter flavor.  When the quinoa is cooked and has cooled slightly, combine in a large mixing bowl with the vegetables and toss with peanut sauce.  Can be eaten at warm, at room temperature or chilled.

Recipe from Annie's Eats

Monday, January 20, 2014

Magical One Pot Pasta

I'm feeling guilt about all sorts of things right now - the state of my guest room closet, my lack of entertaining, not eating a healthy breakfast, the list goes on and on and on - you get the drift.  But not blogging has bummed me out.  I like sharing what we've created in the kitchen and believe me, I may not have time to blog recipes but we've had time to eat!  So I'll reinvigorate myself with this little gem of a pasta dish.  This recipe has developed a cult status online and I know why.  It's flavorful despite the fact that you can barely get decent tomatoes this time of year.  It's a family pleaser but most importantly, you chop and then toss into one pan so clean up is a breeze.  Love it.  Now if only my guest room closet were as easy...

12 ounces linguine
12 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered if large
1 onion, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes (Don't omit but use less if spice is not your thing)
2 sprigs basil, plus torn leaves for garnish
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
4 1/2 cups water
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
Combine pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic, red-pepper flakes, basil, oil, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and water in a large straight-sided skillet. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil mixture, stirring and turning pasta frequently with tongs, until pasta is al dente and water has nearly evaporated, about 9 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper, divide among 4 bowls, and garnish with basil. Serve with oil and Parmesan.
Recipe from Martha Stewart

Friday, December 13, 2013

Chex Cereal Brittle

We have friends who are gluten free and while we love seeing them, I always find it challenging to brings snacks or foods that they can enjoy too. Upon some serious web surfing to find football worthy, gluten free snacks, we all agreed that this sounded good. And boy, was this stuff additive!  If snuggling on the couch for a holiday movie, football game or marathon of Housewives of Beverly Hills is on your weekend agenda, consider moving these babies a little out of reach so you don't consume them in one sitting....

8 cups rice Chex cereal
1 cup salted peanuts
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Heat oven to 300°F. Spray two 15x10x1-inch pans with cooking spray.  In a large bowl, mix all ingredients until evenly coated.  Gently heating the condensed milk may make it easier to mix.  Spread in pans in single layer.  Bake 20 to 22 minutes or until light golden brown.  If not browned, stir gently and bake an additional 8 - 10 minutes, watching it carefully. 

Spread on waxed paper to cool, about 15 minutes. Break into pieces. Store in airtight container.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Spicy Sausage Pasta

We've been craving warm, satisfying and filling dinners after long days at school and work. Add a little snow in the mix and we could eat this every week.   You can get creative and use any type of smoked sausage (we used turkey kielbasa) but it's an easy recipe that I'll have memorized soon. 

   1 teaspoon olive oil
1 lb smoked sausage
1.5 cups diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (10 oz) can Ro-Tel tomatoes and green chiles, Mild
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 oz penne pasta
1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, each
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1/3 cup thinly sliced scallions

Add olive oil to an oven-safe skillet over medium high heat until just smoking. Add sausage and onions and cook until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add broth, tomatoes, cream, pasta, salt and pepper and stir. Bring to a boil, cover skillet, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until pasta is tender, about 15 minutes.

Remove skillet from heat and stir in 1/2 cup cheese. Top with remaining cheese and sprinkle with scallions. Broil until cheese is melted, spotty brown, and bubbly.

Recipe and photo from Kevin & Amanda

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Crockpot All Purpose Shredded Chicken

This will save your life.  Well, not like CPR or exercise or a good stiff drink but it will provide you with endless possibilies for quick and easy meals.  When I see chicken breasts on sale, I load up and make this.  Then I divide the chicken into smaller portions, freeze it and think that I'm one smart cookie. 
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 dried oregano teaspoon
 Place chicken in slow cooker. Sprinkle chicken breasts with all the spices. Add chicken stock. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours. Shred chicken with two forks. Cool completely and if you want to freeze, divide into ziplock baggies. This makes just about six cups total.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Tamale Casserole

School is back in session, our calendars are filled to the brim and the days are getting shorter and nights colder.  Summer is slipping away and I for one am a little sad about it.  We had our fill of summer fun but impending Fall and the routine that comes with it has snuck up on me.  Again, just a little melancholy but this casserole makes me happy.  Why?  My older daughter told me it was the best meal I've ever made.  Now to be fair, she had just come from a long day of school and an intense volleyball game.  And it was way past dinner time so therefore, fried beetle dung also may have been the best thing she'd ever eaten.  But it is a rock solid choice if you need a change up from the typical taco night.  Not a morsel was left at our house!

6 ounces Cheddar cheese, grated
6 ounces Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack cheese, grated
1/3 cup milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn
1 (8.5-ounce) box corn muffin mix (think that cute little Jiffy box)
1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles
1 (10-ounce) can red enchilada sauce
1 pound ground beef (turkey or chicken are fine too)
 salt and pepper, to taste

Top with fresh chopped cilantro & sour cream if desired.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Spray a 13x9 baking dish with cooking spray.
Combine the cheeses in a small bowl.
In a large bowl, stir together 1/4 cup of the combined cheese, the milk, egg, cumin, red pepper, corn, muffin mix, and the green chiles. Stir until just combined.
Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes or until just set.
While the cornbread is baking, cook your ground chicken in a skillet over medium heat until cooked completely through. Drain, if necessary, and salt and pepper the chicken.
Remove the cornbread from the oven and pierce all over with a fork.
Pour the enchilada sauce over the corn bread.
Top with the chicken and remaining cheese.
Return to the oven for another 15 minutes.
Sprinkle with the chopped cilantro or parsley and serve.

Recipe & pic from Buns In My Oven, a great resource for all things yummy!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Sour Cream Pancakes

These are the pancakes from my childhood.  When I eat these I'm in my Lanz nightgown, sitting in front of the t.v. watching Saturday morning cartoons with my brother.  Funny how food can transport you back in time.  They are soft, tender and just delicious.  I love them plain but of course, the kids really love them with some mini-chocolate chips added in. 

1 cup Sour Cream
7 Tablespoons All-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 whole Large Eggs
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Butter, For Frying And Serving

In a small bowl, whisk together eggs and vanilla. Set aside.  In a separate small bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, stir together the sour cream with the dry ingredients until just barely combined.  Whisk in the egg mixture until just combined.  Heat a griddle over medium-low heat and melt some butter in the pan. Drop batter by 1/4 cup servings onto the griddle. Cook on the first side until bubbles start to form on the surface and edges are starting to brown. Flip to the other side and cook for another minute.

Recipe from Pioneer Woman, of course!