Friday, March 28, 2014

Recipe Fail

Well I guess I should post about my dinner disaster. I tried out a recipe I saw on The Chew, by Michael Simon. It looked wonderful! Greek yogurt marinated chicken, grilled.

This recipe called for a half chicken. This made me a little concerned because it would be so thick, but the recipe said it would only have to cook 10 minutes on each side. Usually when I grill just a chicken breast I pound it to be a little thinner. So this would be something new to try, but I was really excited.

Now, I must say, my grill isn't the most top notch grill there is on the market, so sometimes it's a little tricky to get the temperature right. I set it on "Medium-high" heat like the recipe said. I put the chicken on and let it grill for 10 minutes. Flipped it over and it had a couple grill makes but the rest was pretty much raw! I couldn't believe it! So I turned it up a little, cooked for the next 10 minutes and flipped it over and it was completely black! So I lowered it just a little and let it grill. No matter what I couldn't get it right. By the end of it I had a burnt chicken that was still a little too pink for my liking.

I was so disappointed!! I really want to give this another try, but I think next time I will buy skin on thighs, or something a little smaller that will cook through a little easier.

So don't give up! I have meals that I have to toss out sometimes. It's okay, just keep cooking, and keep something in the freezer in case of an emergency!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Zucchini Noodles

Since my husband is in the military he is gone a lot. Usually out on a training field op for a few weeks at a time. Which means I'm on my own for food. I actually get asked a lot "so what do you eat when it's just you??" That is a good question. I go almost full blown vegetarian. I just find it hard to cook meats for just myself, veggies are so much easier to make for one person. So this is one of my favorites that I eat when it's just me, or I use it as a side when Jared is home.

First you will need a julienne peeler. It will cut your Zucchini into little strips.

See how this peeler doesn't have the same smooth blade?
1 large Zucchini
Olive Oil
Toppings: I use Parmesan cheese and sesame seeds

First use the julienne peeler to peel the zucchini to the middle. Stop once you hit the seedy area. You don't want the seeds because when that cooks it just breaks down into mush and it won't hold together. Place the "noodles" in a strainer and sprinkle with salt. Make sure to mix the "noodles" around so they all get coated.

Let the strainer sit in the sink for about 10 minutes. The salt with help pull all the water out and make the zucchini limp. After 10 minutes press the zucchini to remove extra moisture.

See the difference?? They aren't as stiff anymore, almost like boiled noodles!
Heat some oil in a pan on medium heat and toss in the zucchini. Season with pepper, BUT NOT SALT!! You already coated them in salt so you don't need anymore! Stir them around for a few minutes and then they are ready to serve!

This is how much I got from just 1 zucchini! 

Serving suggestions:
When I eat this by itself I top it with parmesan cheese and sesame seeds, but it's also amazing with some spicy sriracha sauce! Another way I love to serve it, is with spaghetti! I just toss these in with the pasta and sauce, it's a fun way to sneak in some veggies! This is always a great side dish that doesn't take much effort at all!

Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

String Art

This is a cooking blog, but what some of you don't know is that I am a crazy DIYer. Over the weekend I FINALLY got a new sewing machine! The last one I had was an old 1960's Singer, that my grandma gave me years ago. After numerous repairs it was just time to get a new one! I will for sure be finding a way to display my grandmas.... But I went to Sew Pros and got an Elna! I am in love with it! My Singer had given up on the "fun" stitches a long time ago, so being able to do zig-zags again was awesome! That being said, I'm sure you will be seeing more of my DIY projects!

Unrelated to sewing, this weekend I made a string art "LOVE" sign for my stairwell. It turned out quite lovely, but took FOREVER! I'm willing to say, if you see something similar in the store, just buy it! Even though I really like how it turned out, I'm not sure it was worth all the hard work, but here's the "how to" in case you want to give it a go.

1 wood board (the hardware store will cut it to size for you)
Nails (I'll show a picture below of what I bought)
Paper Letters (I drew my own, 7x4.5 inches)
Embroidery thread
Patience, and lot's of it!

Here are the nails (or brads?) that I used:

I bought about 4 packs of these and that was perfect.

First, use double sided tape to tape the letters in place on the board. Then put a nail on each corner. Start hammering in nails about 1/4 inch apart, it doesn't have to be perfect I doubt your friends will get a ruler and measure the nail spacing. Once you have the letter outlined in nails, tie the embroidery thread on a nail and start wrapping!

 Just be random! Once it is covered to your liking tie it off! Dab a little glue on the knot of the string just to make sure it holds before you cut the extra off! If you want to hang this on the wall you can get the little picture frame hangers and place them on the back. And that's it! As simple as all this sounds, it is quite time consuming!

Potato Nachos

I know I say this a lot....but I think this is my new favorite dish! Definitely not the healthiest, but it was DELICIOUS! It was one of those nights where I was trying to clear out the fridge and it happened to work!

This will make enough for 2-3 people as a side dish.

2 large Russet Potatoes
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper
Shredded Mexican Cheese
Pico de Gallo (Here is my recipe for Pico de Gallo)
Guacamole (Here is my recipe for Guacamole)

First preheat your oven to 400*

Slice the potatoes into 1/2 inch thick rounds. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay the potatoes on it. Drizzle with olive oil, flip them over and coat the over side. Sprinkle them with salt, pepper, and cumin.

Let them bake for 20 minutes then pull them out and flip them over. Turn the temperature of the oven up to 425* and bake for another 20 minutes. When they are all done place them on a serving plate and top them with cheese, pico de gallo (Recipe Here), guacamole (Recipe Here), and any other toppings you like!

These are a great side dish, or party food! My husband and I fought over the leftovers the next day!

Hope you enjoy!

Pico de Gallo

I love Pico de Gallo! It's such a fresh, crisp salsa that is quick and easy to make! If we are having people over it's easy to make a big batch for people to snack on. Pico de Gallo, literally translates to "Rooster's Beak." Some say it was called that because it was originally eaten like a finger food, pinching it with your finger and thumb, which looked like a rooster's beak. This is my recipe for Pico de Gallo, I'm sure there is a ore traditional recipe out there, but this is how I make it!

4 firm Roma Tomatoes
1 small White Onion
1 Jalapeño
Cilantro (a nice handful)
1 clove of Garlic
Salt and Pepper

Now, however you like to chop your veggies is up to you. I like to dice all the tomatoes, onion, and jalapeño very small because I think it stays on a chip/taco better, but if you like it chunkier then do a bigger dice!

So dice your tomatoes, onion, and jalapeño and mix them together. Mince your garlic and cilantro and stir that in. Last season with salt and pepper. I let mine set in the fridge for a bit to help he flavors develop, but it will taste just as good if you eat it right away!

I used this on my Potato Nachos, Click Here for the recipe!


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Blood Orange Lemonade with Strawberry

Growing up my mom always made up lemonade from scratch! It was delicious. I remember always fighting over who got the last glass! So I decided to put my spin on it!

This recipe was actually a total accident... I got a bunch of oranges in my box and decided to have one. When I cut it open I was surprised to find they were blood oranges!
How cool are these?? They are so pretty!
Of course I had to do something with them, and the juice made lemonade look so pretty!

1 Blood Orange
3 Lemons
1 cup sugar
about 4 cups of water

So I actually don't know what most people use to juice oranges and lemons... my mom always used a vintage hand press juicer, and so that's what I use now too!

Beforehand: The night before you make this you will want to blend your strawberries into a puree and then pour that into an ice cube tray. Once it is frozen, pop them out and store them in a ziplock bag. I would post pictures of that process...but to be perfectly honest I didn't think the whole strawberry ice cube thing would work so I didn't take pictures lol...

This is so simple, get a 1 quart measuring bowl (I use the big pyrex 1qt measuring cup) and juice 1 blood orange and 3 lemons. Pour juice into the measuring cup and add sugar. Add enough water to fill it to the 1 Quart line. It will be less than 4 cups, but it varies depending on how much juice you get. You can add more sugar if it is too tart, but 1 cup will make it quite sweet already! You can strain out the pulp, but I like to keep mine in.

To serve, pour in a glass and add a few strawberry ice cubes! As the ice cubes melt it adds strawberry to the drink, it is quite delightful! A fun summer drink!

Now I make mine in bulk... I buy a ton of blood oranges and lemons and spend a while juicing them to freeze "starters." To do this, I get small tupperware and pour just the juice in it, I add the sugar and water later when I'm ready to drink it. This is super helpful so I don't have to hand squeeze lemons every time I want fresh lemonade! Or if you are having a party, just prep it ahead of time so all you have to do it thaw it and mix it!

So while blood oranges are in season go buy a few and try out this sweet drink! Happy Juicing!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Dinner

Growing up St. Patrick's day dinner was one of my favorite things! So much yummy food that we only had once a year! My mom always made up Corned beef, Cabbage, Potatoes, and green jello! Of course my favorite memory was our green milk... One year my mom dyed our milk green, and I remember refusing to drink it because I said it tasted bad from the food dye. Well the next year came and I begged for that fun green milk, promising I would drink it this time. Once again I refused to drink it on claims that the food dye made it taste bad. To this day I swear food dye makes milk taste bad, Jared said we should try it this year, but there is no way I'm drinking green milk! When I went grocery shopping I made sure to pick up a few extra corned beefs so we could have them more than just once a year!

So this year I stuck to my mom's tradition and made Corned Beef, New Potatoes, Cabbage, and Green Jello!

I'm going to divide the recipes into different posts to keep them short:

Here is the recipe for the Corned Beef

Here is the recipe for the Cabbage

Here is the recipe for the New Potatoes

Herbed New Potatoes

These are simple and yummy New Potatoes for you St. Patrick's Day meal, or anytime!

9 New Potatoes
Fresh Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme: about 1 TBS of each Chopped
1 stick of butter
salt and pepper

Cut the New potatoes into fourths and boil them for about 8-10 minutes, until they are easily pierced with a fork. While those are boiling melt butter in a pan and add in the herbs and let that simmer for a minute, DON'T BURN THE BUTTER!!! Once the potatoes are done drain the water and add the herb butter over the top. Toss them in the butter with some Salt and Pepper and then serve.

Roasted Cabbage

I have had Cabbage several times and I don't hate it, but I would never go back for seconds... But this time I went back for thirds! My husband and his friend we had over even loved it!

1 Cabbage
Fresh Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme: About 2 TBS of each, chopped
Garlic Powder
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Preheat your oven to 350*

Cut the cabbage into 8 wedges. Some people like to cut the cabbage into rounds, but they will not stay together as well that way. Lay them out on a cookie sheet, and drizzle generously with olive oil. Next mix the chopped herbs and sprinkle those generously over the cabbage. Top it all off with some garlic powder, salt, and pepper and then put them in the oven for about 30-40 minutes and serve.

Corned Beef

There are lot's of ways you can cook your corned beef, the packaging should give you a couple options. I do not brine my own beef. I buy the package that is pre brined and has the seasoning packet inside.

1 3lb Corned Beef, pre brined with seasoning
4 Bay Leaves

Preheat oven to 350*

Take a large oven safe roasting dish that has a lid (like a dutch oven, or I have a giant Corningware casserole dish with a lid), and place the Corned beef in fat side down. Pour in enough water to dil about 3/4 of the way up the corned beef. Take the seasoning packet and sprinkle it on the beef, and then just a little in the water. Add 4 bay leaves to the pot, cover and cook it in the oven for 2 1/2 hours.

And that's it! While that's cooking you can get the rest of you meal together!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Sautéed Rainbow Swiss Chard and Snap Peas

This week in my box i got Rainbow Swiss Chard! I was super excited! Last time I got it, I didn't know what to do with it and I let it go to waste, but this time I was determined to use it! It was so pretty, how could I not?? I also got Snap Peas! I absolutely love Snap Peas. While I was delivering everyone's boxes I kept my box on the seat by me so I could snack on them! They were so yummy!

Also, my husband bought me an awesome new book! Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison. 400 pages of information all about produce!

She writes a few paragraphs on each vegetable, then lists flavors that go with that vegetable, and a few recipes. My favorite thing about the book are the lists of flavors that go with each veggie! Now I can easily come up with great recipes based on this info! It's awesome! So of course I was really excited to put the book to use with this week's box!

8 Leaves of Rainbow Swiss Chard
about 1/2 lb of Snap Peas, cut in half
3 strips of Bacon, cut into 1/2 in pieces
2 heads of Green Garlic, chopped (If you don't have green garlic, just use 2 cloves of garlic chopped)
1 TBS fresh Cilantro, chopped
Toasted sesame seeds

Look how gorgeous all of these veggies are!!

I always recommend chopping everything BEFORE you start cooking. Everything will go much quicker and it will make cooking so much easier!

To chop the Rainbow Chard, cut the leaves from the stem. Chop the stem into 1 in pieces and the leaves into bigger pieces (they will shrink down a TON when you cook them).

I think Rainbow Chard might be my new favorite! The
stems are just beautiful!
Put a skillet on medium heat and get your bacon crispy!

Or, just make your husband do it while you take pictures and chop everything else...

Remove the bacon and set it on a paper towel and plate to the side. Keep the grease in the pan and add on the Rainbow Chard STEMS, and the Snap Peas. Since these are bigger chunkier pieces they will take longer to cook, so you want to cook those first. Cook those for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add on the Green Garlic (or regular garlic) and let that cook for a minute.

Once that has cooked add in the Leaves and the Cilantro, and cook for a few more minutes until the leaves are wilted.

After that place it on a plate to serve and top it off with some of the bacon pieces and toasted sesame seeds. I grilled chicken to serve with this, it was so yummy! And if you don't believe that all these weird greens can be good, my husband actually asked me to cook this again!

Give Rainbow Chard a chance! Enjoy!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Chocolate Banana Milk

This is by far my favorite "dessert". After cutting out cookies and ice cream I have really been craving something sweet. Not to mention Jared has been dragging me to the gym so I needed something that would help my body recover. Two of the best things for you after a work out are, Milk and Bananas. So I decided to put those two things together and see how it tasted. It was like drinking a chocolate malt! I seriously don't miss ice cream anymore! It was so yummy!

16oz of Milk
1 Banana (Make sure it's ripe!!)
Chocolate syrup (This is optional it tastes great without it!)

Put your Milk and Banana in a blender. As it's blending add in some chocolate syrup, just enough until it's light brown, you don't need too much! And that's it! It's so quick and easy to make! So toss out your ice cream and give this a try!