Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Tangy Cucumber and Tomato Salad

Long time, no see! Its been FOREVER since I blogged. I once rolled my eyes when a mom of 3 or 4 said she missed creatively cooking. That wouldn't happen to me. Its my hobby. Well, my kids don't like my creative cooking. And its mentally exhausting to cook food that they don't eat. So my experimentation has dwindled in the last couple years. But I hope that is just a stage.

We went to my cousin's daughter's graduation part a couple weeks ago. And they had an AMAZING cucumber tomato salad. We had seconds, it was so yummy. It turns out the party was catered by a local chicken restaurant chain. I decided I must recreate it. It tasted similar to the cucumbers soaked in vinegar and sugar water. When I tried that, it was close but not quite. I begged my husband to call the restaurant and fish for ingredients. And he did! They said there was a blush wine vinaigrette. So I picked one up at the store today and used it. It is just right! You can make your own vinaigrette if you would like, or pick up a bottle or two of this to keep in your pantry. Its the best summer side dish.

Tangy Cucumber and Tomato Salad

4 cucumbers, peeled and diced
6 roma or tomatoes on the vine, diced
1/2 large or 1 small red onion, finely diced
3 stalks celery, finely diced
fresh cilantro, about 2-3 tbsp minced
1 tsp salt
3/4 - 1 cup Brianna's Home Style Dressing Blush Wine Vinaigrette

Chopping all of that by hand does take time. Pull up a chair and listen to a podcast or something. Its worth it.

Combine all ingredients well and chill 1+ hours before serving.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Philly Cheese Steak Sloppy Joes

This is great when you need a quick and easy version of a old favorite.

Philly Cheese Steak Sloppy Joes
2 tbsp butter
1 green bell pepper, diced
4oz mushrooms, diced
1 onion, diced
1 lb ground beef
3 tbsp worchestershire sauce
1/4 cup broth
salt and pepper

sliced cheese (provolone, pepperjack, and american all work well)
4 buns or hoagie rolls

melt the butter in a large skillet over medium. Add veggies. Cook until well softened, about 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Add meat and cook until well browned. Drain, and return to pan along with veggies. Add worchestershire sauce, broth, salt and pepper. Simmer on medium low for 5-10 minutes. Serve on a soft bun and top with a slice of cheese

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Broccolini, Leek, and Cheddar Risotto

There is really nothing more comforting than a creamy bowl of cheesy rice. Risotto is an impressive meal but it isn't as daunting as you might think. It does take some time and some stirring, but its not crazy. Honestly, I load some dishes or some other kitchen based task while I make it so I can stay close to stir often, but not just stand there bored.

I actually double the amount of risotto I make and make risotto cakes with the leftovers. That is almost my favorite part about risotto (recipe to come). If you use this recipe as a side dish not a main, there will probably be enough leftovers for that as well.

2 leeks, trimmed, sliced, and washed well (can use an onion instead)
4 slices bacon, cut into strips
2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup beer or dry white wine
6-8 cups chicken stock (home made is great for this! Veggie stock would work too)
1 bunch broccolini, cut into one inch pieces (can sub with a couple cups broccoli)
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar
salt and pepper to taste

Warm the broth in a sauce pan. Keep on low to keep warm.

Heat a deep skillet on medium. Add bacon and stir often.  Remove with a slotted spoon once crisp. Leave bacon juices.

Add leeks and sauté a few minutes, until soft. Add rice and toss until coated in bacon love. Toast for a few minutes, stirring often.

Add beer. Stir well. Once absorbed, add 2 ladlefuls at a time to rice. Stir often. Once broth is absorbed, add 2 more ladlefuls. Continue the process. Add the chopped broccolini once about 2/3rds of the broth is gone. It will be done when the broth is absorbed and the rice is al dente, and there is a creamy sauce surrounding it all.

Add the cheese and bacon and turn off the heat. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve hot.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Potsticker Sliders

If you are looking for a flavor packed burger variation, this is a great one to try. It has all the flavor of potstickers without the labor. They are a bit delicate, so I would suggest cooking them in a skillet or grill pan instead of the actual grill.

The sauce is a nice glaze and a little goes a long way. It also goes great on veggies, rice, or stir fry.

Potsticker Sliders 

1.5-2 pounds ground pork and/or turkey
1.5 cups thinly sliced cabbage (the bagged "angel hair" cabbage slaw in the salad section works well)
1/2 cup canned water chestnuts, diced small
3-4 green onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced/grated (or 2 tsp granulated dried garlic)
2 tbsp grated fresh ginger (or 1 tsp dried)
1 egg
4 tbsp soy sauce (or tamari or aminos)

1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce or tamari
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp-1 tbsp sriracha sauce (depending on how spicy you want it)
2 tsp rice wine vinegar (I've used red wine vinegar or balsamic in a pinch)
1 clove grated/minced garlic (or 1 tsp dried)
1 tbsp fresh grated ginger (or 1 tsp dried)
1 tbsp tomato paste (or ketchup)
1 tbsp corn starch
1 tbsp water

1 (12 count) package hawaiian king rolls


Combine all the patty ingredients well, but don't over mix. Divide and form 12 patties. Heat up a skillet or grill pan. Spray/coat with oil of choice and cook patties 3-5 minutes on each side, or until done. Probably will be in batches.

Meanwhile, combine soy sauce, sugar, sriracha, vinegar, garlic, ginger, and tomato paste in a small sauce pan. Heat over medium until boiling. Combine water and corn starch and add to sauce. Lower to medium low and simmer 3-5 minutes

To serve, place a patty on a bun and drizzle some glaze on top.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Blender Pancakes

I'm going to be up front and say we do have a Vitamix, so this recipe might not work as well in other blenders. But definitely give it a try because I think even if the oats don't get ground completely smooth, that it will be ok. Just be sure to blend the dry ingredients first.

There are many substitutions you can use depending on what you have or want to use. Mix and match. Experiment.

For the sweetener, you can use maple syrup, honey, regular or brown sugar, or skip it altogether. I actually made a sweet date paste and froze it in ice cube trays and I use one of those.

Some variations I have done:
Cinnamon and applesauce. Cocoa and banana. Almond butter and frozen blueberries (you can either blend them right in for purple pancakes, or stir them in). Pumpkin puree and pie spice. You could add spinach for green pancakes.

You can also add a tbsp or two of ground flax seed or chia seeds.

Blender Pancakes

2 cups old fashioned/rolled oats
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp sweetener of choice
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream OR plain greek yogurt OR cottage cheese (or combo thereof)
2/3 cup milk (or alternative milk)
2/3 (approx) cup of fruit, such as a banana, applesauce, pumpkin puree
1 tsp spices (cinnamon, pie spice, etc) AND/OR 1 tbsp flavoring like cocoa powder, almond/peanut butter
Optional: Chia seeds, flax meal, vanilla, spinach

Place all dry ingredients in the blender and pulse or blend until a flour consistency (or as close as you can)

Add the dry ingredients and blend until smooth. Lower powered blenders may need you to stop periodically and scrape the sides down.

Warm a skillet over medium. Once fully heated, melt some butter or drizzle/spray some oil and pour about 4 inch circles of batter from your blender pitcher. Once the bubbles out the outer inch of the pancakes stop forming, flip and continue to cook.

I let the pancakes rest for a minute or two before serving.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Lemon Garlic Chicken with Zucchini Noodles and Asparagus

I make this garlic chicken a lot right now. Its incredibly flavorful and freezes great. Its based on a "dump chicken" pinterest recipe. Meaning you can dump it all in a bag and freeze it. Then you can thaw it and use it in several ways. In the crock pot, sauté it, grill it. Its great on its own, sliced on a salad, or like this over noodles (or zoodles). I lightly floured the chicken and that helped thicken the sauce. I used a all purpose gluten free blend when I made this today, but obviously regular AP flour is great too.

If you don't have all the dried herbs I suggest, just use what you have. The real flavor comes from the lemon and garlic. The herbs are just bonus, but recommended. The herbs give a nod to "ranch" flavor.

I like to make the meat stretch, so I made 4 adult servings with 2 chicken breasts and the veggies. If you are making the lemon chicken to be a larger part of a meal, I would double this part of the recipe.

Normally I marinade them whole, but since I knew I would be cubing them for this recipe, I cubed them before adding the marinade. If you make this with whole breasts to freeze, and decide to make this with them later, you can obviously cube it later. Or even cook whole and then cube. Whatever floats your boat.

You will need some sort of vegetable noodle maker for this recipe. Or a mandolin to make julienne strips. There are several types of veggie noodle makes on amazon.

You could easily use angel hair pasta if you desire

Lemon Garlic Chicken:

2 chicken breasts
juice of 1 large lemon
2 tbsp oil
5 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 tbsp dried chives
1 tsp dried dill

Combined everything but the chicken, and then add to chicken in a zip top bag and either marinade for a few hours or freeze and thaw overnight in the fridge.

Lemon Garlic Chicken with Zucchini Noodles and Asparagus:

1 batch lemon garlic chicken (cubed, or cook it whole and cube)
3 large or 5 medium zucchinis
1 bunch asparagus (thinner is better, but not needed)
1/2 cup flour
salt and pepper
3 tbsp oil
1/2 cup white wine (can sub for more broth but the wine is amazing. You could buy the individual mini bottles of wine in some places)
1 cup broth
salt and pepper to taste

Zoodle your zucchini.

Place a strainer over a bowl and dump the chicken into it.

Heat a medium sauce pan of water to boiling. Add a good amount of salt. Have a medium bowl of ice water waiting

Cut the bottom couple inches of the asparagus off. Cut into 1-2 inch chunks. Add to boiling water and boil about 2 minutes. Drain and add to the ice water. Set aside.

Heat the largest skillet you have on medium.

Combine the flour, salt, and pepper. Take the chicken (save the bowl with any juices that drained off) and toss it in the flour until coated.

Add the oil. Once hot, add chicken. Cook until done. Some of my breading fell off or stuck a little. Not a big deal. Take the chicken out and set aside.

Add the wine and scrape all the brown bits off the pan. Whisk in the broth and let simmer for 5 minutes or so.

Taste the sauce and and salt and pepper if needed (I make it a little salty because its also seasoning the noodles and asparagus.)

Add the chicken, drained asparagus, and zoodles to the pan. Toss with tongs and heat until warmed through and remove from heat. Serve.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Knock-Off Shake and Bake Mix

I set out to whip up my own version of this flavor bomb and it definitely paid off. These awesomely flavored breadcrumbs can make a very fast meal out of chicken or pork chops, or makes for a great breading for nuggets, risotto cakes, or even a topping for casseroles or baked mac and cheese.

This makes a lot. I keep it in my freezer in a couple zip locks.

Knock off Shake and Bake


4 cups panko bread crumbs
1/3rd cup oil (I use olive or avocado)
1 tbsp seasoning salt
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp celery salt
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tsp pepper
2 tsp dried parsley
1 pinch dried oregano

Whisk together all ingredients and keep in freezer in an airtight container. 1/2-3/4 cups is enough to cover 4 pork chops or 4 chicken breasts.

I like to coat and heat up a cast iron pan. Put some oil in it. Cook the chops on one side, flip them, and put the whole thing in a 400 degree oven until the internal temp shows its done. It all depends on the thickness of the meat.