Tag Archives: dinner
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Thai Nut Dipping Sauce

21 Mar

Today I tried the crossfit open workout 13.3 and the wall balls killed me.

I thought I was going to get to double unders no problem, but I didn’t even make it. So, while having a pity party for myself, I’m trying to focus on the positive, and how far I’ve come since starting crossfit last June.

I have been mostly Paleo since January. I would say I have two cheat meals a week, and they aren’t eating a whole pizza, but eating out at a place that probably uses vegetable oil in stir frying my fajitas.

I feel great, have increased energy. Finally feeling comfortable in the kitchen, I’ve been going through old recipes and attempting to make them Paleo. A while ago, I posted a Thai Peanut dipping sauce. I switched out some of the ingredients, and this is what I came up with. It was delicious! Perfect for dipping reheated chicken and drizzling on some salad. I really had to contain myself to not just eat spoonfuls of it.

Thai Nut Dipping Sauce

Thai Nut Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 teaspoons lime juice
1/4 cup sunflower seed butter
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon coconut aminos

Wisk all the ingredients together then put on top of everything. Protein, veggies, whatever you can think of. I had it with leftover grilled chicken.

 

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Meat Pizza

21 Mar

I was pleasantly surprised by this for “Meatza Pizza” recipe from Melissa on theclothesmakethegirl.com. Frankly, while I was making it I was a bit skeptical if this would be good, let alone hold up in the freezer for a week. But it came out great and was a lifesaver on a busy night. Here is my adapted version:

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Prep: 20 minutes Cook: 25 minutes. Makes one individual Pizza.

Ingredients:
1/2 lb. ground beef
3 tbl. tomato paste
1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
assorted toppings: suggestions of bacon, garlic, olives, tomato, spinach. The possibilities are endless!

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400F.

2. Mix ground beef and seasoning until well-combined.

3. Press the meat into a 8- or 9-inch round pie pan or into a rectangular roasting pan. Try to make it an even thickness. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the meat is cooked through and the edges are starting to brown.

4. While the meat is baking, chop the toppings.

5. When the meat is ready, spread with the tomato paste and top with your veggies.

*At this point you can wrap the whole thing in tin foil and freeze. This was great for a Sunday prep, so during the week when I come home exhausted I just popped it in the oven!

6. Pop it back in preheated to 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes if fresh, 25-30 minutes if frozen, or until it looks delicious and is warm in the middle.

Cut and serve!

Shrimp “Paella”

5 Mar

Lately I have been following the “Paleo” or Caveman diet. Although it may be a bit of a fad, a lot of the trainers at Crossfit follow it and I have experienced some of the benefits of higher levels of energy, no afternoon slump, and no more tummy aches after eating. I’m finally getting comfortable with cooking within the guidelines so I thought I’d start posting here. Last night was a Shrimp and Cauliflower “rice.”

 

Ingredients

  • Head of cauliflower
  • 1/2 lb shrimp
  • Italian Seasoning Mix
  • Handful of Spinach
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbl spoons of lemon juice
  • 1 tbl olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Prepare the cauliflower rice:

  1. Chop the cauliflower into florets. Place in food processor and process until the size of rice. Short pulses are a good method to check on it every once in a while.
  2. Place in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for one minute on high.

Put together

  1.  Coat bottom of pan with olive oil. When warm, add the minced garlic cloves and stir until brown and fragrant.
  2. Add the shrimp for four minutes, until brown on one side. Flip and move to one side of pan. Add seasoning and lemon juice to pan.
  3. Add cauliflower to other side of pan. Let cook for four minutes.
  4. Add spinach to pan, mix all together. Continue cooking 2-3 minutes until spinach is wilted.
  5. Season with salt and pepper.

Place in bowl and serve!

 

I added tomatoes to mine. There are endless variations of vegetables and seasonings to this dish. I thought this was a pretty good go to for a quick weeknight!

Chicken Satay Skewers and Peanut Dipping Sauce

27 Mar

A few weeks ago we had a glimpse of spring T-shirt and short weather so the first thing I did was pull out the BBQ. I decided to make Chicken Satay Skewers based on this recipe from Eclectic Recipes.

I took pictures and had every intention of posting… and then completely forgot. Going through the photos on the camera I rediscovered them. And now that it’s the more March appropriate 50 degrees, I’m longing for our flirt with spring. So here’s the recipe to egg on more spring weather.

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Chicken Satay Skewers and Peanut Dipping Sauce

Ingredients

Marinade

  • 1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut in 8 strips
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon curry paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon fish sauce

Peanut Sauce

  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 8 bamboo skewers

Directions

Marinade:
  1. Combine 1/2 cup coconut milk, 2 teaspoons lime juice, 1 teaspoon curry paste, 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil and 1/4 teaspoon fish sauce in a large bowl. Mix well.
  2. Place cut up chicken in marinade. Then skewer the individual pieces chicken and place in on lined cookie sheet.  Marinate for 2 – 3 hours–or as long as you have time.
  • Marinade: The recipe originally wasn’t written very well to indicate a marinade. The first time I tried it I didn’t realize this, so I only had 30 minutes and it came out just as tasty.
  • Skewer Tip: skewer each piece with two skewers to that they are easier to turn.

Grill:

  1. Pre-heat grill.
  2. Place chicken on grill and cook until done, about 15 – 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken breast has reached 165 degrees.
  3. Meanwhile, mix ingredients for peanut dipping sauce.
  4. Serve chicken with peanut dipping sauce.

I served as main dish with rice and salad. It was so delicious and easy that the next time we had a guest for dinner I made it again and it was a hit. Could also work well as appetizer or side.

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Mon Poulet Roti

17 Mar

For the most part, Northern Califoria has looked like this for the past couple days:

To boot I’ve been in and out of doctor’s appointments with painful swollen lymph nodes in my neck and a truck load of school work to do. What do I want to do in times like this? Cook! So last night on my way home I picked up a fryer chicken to roast. Now, this might seem oxymoronic, but the labeling of the chicken doesn’t stop me from doing with I want with it. Fryer chickens are generally smaller and more tender… which means I can roast it for about an hour and a half and it comes out perfect. Although it was a weeknight, this really was not that complicated of a dinner. Just come home, rinse chicken, salt, pop into oven. Do chores/homework for an hour and a half and bam! amazing home cooked comfort food dinner.

Now, I don’t always buy all organic and sustainable raised things. But I try. Yesterday I did my shopping at The Nugget, a locally owned grocery store that does provide affordable organic and local food. They also provide little recipe options in case you don’t know what you want. I knew I wanted roasted chicken and mashed potatoes, but I didn’t know what veggie. Basic green salad seemed to summery so when I saw their recipe for Braised Greens I thought it was a perfect compromise.

Although I considered this a very fancy meal, I was shocked at how little it cost! I decided to share:

CHICKEN
Rocky Whole Chicken (sustainably, humanely, raised without antibiotics) $5.71 ($1.5/lb)

POTATOES
Red Potatoes $.54 ($.50/lb)

SALAD
Sunflower Seeds $1.32
Organic Pumpkin seeds $1.15
Organic Mustard Greens $2.99
Organic Red Chard $1.99
Organic Mustard Green $2.99
Shallots $.92

TOTAL $17.61

Such a deal! Really, I was so impressed. There was enough food that this meal probably could have fed 5, really. I’m going to make soup with the left over chicken, and we have enough greens for about two more salads. Although there aren’t any more potatoes… not sure where they all went!

The mashed potatoes I made with no fuss during the last 20 minutes of the chicken roasting. The Braised Greens I made as soon as I took out the chicken and it was resting. The chicken, was TO DIE FOR!

I basically followed this “Favorite Simple Roast Chicken” from epicurious, with a couple deviations.

Mon Poulet Roti

Ingredients

  • One 2- to 3-pound farm-raised chicken
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Rinse the chicken, then dry it very well with paper towels, inside and out. The less it steams, the drier the heat, the better.

Truss the bird. There are lots of videos on how to do this. As you can see from the pictures, I didn’t do it exactly right. But it didn’t matter. I just tied the legs together and it came out fine.

Salt and pepper the chicken. I basically ground fresh sea salt over the top of the chicken and rubbed it in. When it was done, the skin was crunchy and you could get little bits of the salt–heavenly.  Season to taste with pepper.

I used my chicken pot, but you could use any roasting pan. Then put it in the oven, and forget-a-bout it. Really. I left it alone. No butter, no basting. Nothing. 

I was using an old fashioned meat thermometer so every once and awhile, I’d just peak to check on it, but other than that, nothing.

My bird was about 3.5 lbs. So it was about 1.5 hours before it reached the FDA recommendation of 165 degrees. Make sure you check your bird is done. Then bring it out and let it sit–good idea to baste it now.

 

While the chicken was resting, I made the Braised Greens according to the Nugget recipe, carved up the chicken, and served! Well, I ate the wings and the butt (the best parts) before the chicken even got to the table, but Andrew didn’t even notice.  Amazing weeknight meal and completely satisfied my need for comfort food (and my wallet thanks to the Nugget!)

German Oven Pancakes

24 Feb

We just had the best dinner in a long time. Really, it was so that good. What is this amazing dinner? It’s easy really: Beer, Pancakes, & Bacon. Real maple syrup doesn’t hurt either.

As you can see, these were no ordinary pancakes. We had visited our friends house over the weekend and they served these magical pancakes, BAKED IN THE OVEN! Andrew and I were both stunned. We have both been through out entire lives without tasting pancakes made in the oven, or “German pancakes.” How are these not served at every breakfast joint? I have no idea. They are beautiful, fluffy, easy to make, and so much fun to fill with different toppings.

It has been our habit to have pizza every Thursday night. Last week, Andrew didn’t feel too good after our pizza, maybe as we get older we can’t handle all of that grease… So we were looking for something fun and easy to replace pizza. Andrew summed it up: “I think this is better than pizza Thursdays.” Enough said.

Well, except the recipe, which I took fromSteamy Kitchen. She had it for breakfast, which I guess is also an option.

German Oven Pancakes

  • 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt

Preheat oven to 450F. If you have a convection oven, set it at 425F.

Lightly beat eggs in a large bowl. Stir in the milk, melted butter, salt and sugar. Gradually add flour to egg mixture, a spoonful at a time.  Make sure the flour is well incorporated in the batter with no lumps, but do not over-mix, as you want to keep the pancake light.

Lightly spray a 9″-11″ oven-safe skillet with cooking spray (I used my cast iron, which may have resulted in less poof in the middle, but the sides climbed like crazy!).

Pour batter in the skillet.

Bake 12-18 minutes, just until the edges are golden. Mine was perfect at about 15 minutes. It wasSO much fun to watch it rise so quickly, seriously, Andrew and I were acting like little kids giddy with excitement–maybe the pre-dinner beer also helped.

Serve with whatever toppings you have around. We had peaches, blackberries, and strawberries. Throw in some sweet with powdered sugar and maple syrup. But you could really do this what ever favorite toppings. If you wanted a super fancy dessert, we were thinking chocolate syrup.

Me, now excited for oven pancake Thursday.

Cajun Chicken and Andouille Soup

3 Feb

Hello WordPress! I almost forgot about you! But then, I just joined Pinterest and realized that it could help me organize all of my recipes along with this blog. So let’s get back to it!

As always, I’m on the look out for simple, quick, tasty, and hopefully somewhat healthy recipes. I have started to use Women’s Health website to find some good recipes that breaks down the calories, sodium, and protein and other good-to-know nutrients. However, their website is awful to navigate and rarely has any good pictures. I also find myself changing a lot of the recipes to make more sense to me.

My modification of their Cajun Chicken and Andouille Soup has become an instant hit around here. I’ve made twice in the past two weeks. Really delicious and super easy to make.

Disclaimer: I have been to Louisiana several times and know what “real” Southern food is. This isn’t it. This is definitely the “California” version of Southern food. But it does give me a little taste, and it’s delicious otherwise–so who cares?

Ingredients:

*Ingredient note: look for any sort of brand of “cajun seasoning” in the seasoning aisle, or you could make one up–it would probably have less sodium. But since I have contacts in the south, I used a new one I got for Christmas, Walker & Son’s “Slap Ya Mama” seasoning, and it’s delicious. I also like to think it adds to my authenticity, but probably not.

Directions:

  • Chop everything up, throw it into the pot and simmer for 4-8 hours. Really, because these are such hardy ingredients you could probably do it for as long as you want it to simmer for.  How simple is that?

I served mine with corn bread muffins:

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Baby Back Ribs BBQ

12 Feb

I have been sick all week. Coughing, runny nose, sore throat, can’t sleep sick. And the weather has been more beautiful than it has been in over two months (as far as I can remember). So of course I’m a little bit bitter. Today I decided to take advantage of the weather and tough out the runny nose and BBQ some ribs.

Now, we by no means eat everything organic or local. I wish. We don’t have the money or the time to really be able to cook every night or buy everything from farmers markets or CSAs.  But we try. One way we try is to buy most of our red meats or special occasion meats from the meat market. The Meat Market is on the UC Davis campus. It’s a program where the animal science majors raise the animals on campus, and then butcher them for units. Since it’s an expensive program, they sell the meat and all the money goes back into the program. So not only are you supporting locally raised meat, but also education! So there is my little plug for meat markets. They aren’t much more than the grocery store and I wouldn’t be surprised if every university with an animal science program has one.

So on this beautiful sunny Friday afternoon I stopped by the meat market and picked up some ribs and used my special super easy sauce to BBQ them up. We actually ate it with the “Chicken and Everything Else Salad” without the chicken in it. Pretty pretty good.

Recipe adapted from Weber’s Real Grilling book.

Baby Back Ribs BBQ

  • 1 tablesppon EVOO
  • 1 crushed garlic clove
  • 1 teaspoon pure chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup cola
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • rack of baby back ribs
  1. Clean up the ribs if there is excessive fat or the membrane in the back if it’s there.
  2. Spread sauce all over the ribs-focusing mainly on the meaty side.
  3. Grill over direct medium heat for 35-40 minutes, flipping twice. Reapply sauce as needed/wanted.
  4. Transfer the ribs to a plate and cover with aluminum foil, let stand for 10-15 minutes.

Chicken and Everything Else Salad

11 Feb

We are so close to Spring I can taste it. I know… I’m such a Californian, but even just a bit of fog and rain is enough to be “winter” around here and make me crave beautiful California sunshine. We’ve had a glimpse of what’s to come this week with temperatures in the high 60’s and sometimes even in the 70’s! In this spirit I thought about summer time foods–BBQing and salads! Then I thought, why not combine the two! Since I haven’t had a huge salad for dinner in awhile, once I thought to have one, I decided to throw basically everything I had into it… hence the name “Chicken and Everything Else Salad.”

The other great thing about California is that even though it’s “winter” I can still dig into the ground enough in order to grow some plants! In December I put in some Simpson Elite lettuce and Spinach, they finally look big enough to start “harvesting” so I cut off a couple leaves to put this together. Can’t get much more convenient then that!

Chicken seasoning adapted from Weber’s Real Grilling book.

Chicken and Everything Else Salad

Chicken Seasoning:

  • 2 teaspoons EVOO
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon prepared chili powder
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

Salad “Extras” Ideas

  • Spinach any other kind of green leaf
  • Dried cranberries
  • 2 cups cooked tri-color rotini
  • Garlic croutons
  • Caesar dressing
  • 1/2 cook Quinoa
  1. Combine the seasons for the chicken and spread it all over the chicken
  2. Grill the chicken over Direct Medium heat until the meat is firm to the touch and no longer pink in the center, 8 to 12 minutes, turning once. Shred into bite sized pieces.
  3. In a large bowl, combine everything you can think of. Add dressing and toss. Season with pepper.

Chicken Adobo with Bok Choy

30 Jan

For my birthday, my mom got me a year subscription to Real Simple magazine. I really do like this magazine. It can be quite trendy and there are quite a few ads. But as far as magazines go, I really like the recipes as well as the stories about people’s lives. The only weird thing about the subscription is that my birthday was in September, and I got my first issue last week… I wrote and complained, but they just said the year would start with this issue. I don’t know why it took so long. But the wait was worth it, I tried the first recipe out of it today.

Andrew and I eat “stir fry”probably once a week. This consists of a bag of frozen vegetables with chicken and rice. Although it’s good, it can be a bit boring. So we thought we’d try it up with this recipe. I was actually a slow cook recipe that I didn’t think needed to be slow cooked, I just did it in the pan all at once. The “Tip” on the page is that Adobo is typically thought of as a Latin American dish, but this is a Filipino verson. It notes that you could subsitute spinach or chard for the bok choy. I also used boneless skinless chicken breasts instead of bone-in thighs, which would take longer.

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Black pepper
  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, diced
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 cup long-grain rice
  • 1 large head bok choy, cut into 1-inch strips
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced (mine were from my backyard!)

Preparation:

  • Start cooking the rice as directed

  • In a heavy weight pan, put a quarter sized dash of olive oil. Saute the onions and garlic until browned. Add the vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, bay leaf, and pepper.
  • Place the chicken on top and brown (about 5 minutes). Add the paprika.
  • Cook over medium heat until the chicken and onions are tender, about 15 minutes.
  • When you have about 3 minutes left, gently fold in the bok choy and scallions


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  • Serve with the rice.