Thursday, December 8, 2016

One-Pan Chicken with Sweet Potatoes & Cabbage

Come January, I'll be on maternity leave (for a month before baby comes!) and I will finally get back to blogging. Until then, I'm getting back into the swing of cooking and trying to take pictures even though the sun goes down at 4pm. The yellow lights in my kitchen make taking and editing pictures very difficult. 

I mostly wanted to post this recipe so I didn't forget it myself. I saw a similar idea on Nerds with Knives' Instagram feed and immediately went to my fridge to make a version as I was struggling with dinner ideas. A one-pan roast that you pop into the oven for 30 minutes is genius and makes weeknight meals manageable. 

One-Pan Chicken with Sweet Potatoes & Cabbage
makes 2 servings

1 medium yam/sweet potato (sliced into coins, 1/4 in.)
1/4 head green cabbage (sliced into thin wedges)
1 yellow onion (sliced into thin wedges)
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 cloves garlic (minced)
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 sprig rosemary (stem removed)
1 lemon (sliced into thin coins)
salt and pepper
olive oil

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.

In a cast iron skillet or other oven-safe pan/baking sheet, line the bottom with sweet potato coins, about 1/4 inch thick. Add a layer of cabbage and onions on top of the sweet potatoes. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and kind of push things around to make sure everything gets coated. You want the sweet potatoes touching the pan though. 

Add the chicken to the top of the veggies, sprinkling with salt and pepper. 

In a small bowl, combine minced garlic, Dijon, honey, soy sauce, rosemary, olive oil, salt and pepper. Whisk to combine. 

Pour the mixture over everything in the pan, making sure to coat the chicken entirely. Wedge the lemon slices in. 

Pop into the oven for 30 minutes. If you have a meat thermometer, check to make sure the chicken has reach 165 degrees. If not, just cut open to make sure the chicken is cooked through. 
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Friday, November 4, 2016

Creamy Roasted Cauliflower

Roasting veggies this winter might get a little boring, so make sure you've got some fun recipes in the arsenal. This roasted cauliflower recipe is so delicious with a creamy yogurt sauce. 

If you're like me, I always keep a container of plain Greek yogurt in my fridge. It's good for breakfast (try mixing it with oatmeal!), sauces, toppings for tacos, making egg/chicken salads. Endless possibilities. Keep it in the fridge. 

Creamy Roasted Cauliflower
makes 3-4 sides

1 head cauliflower (florets trimmed)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil

for the creamy yogurt sauce
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 lemon (juice)
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp fresh dill (stems removed, rough chop)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss the cauliflower florets in spices, salt, pepper and olive oil. Transfer to a baking sheet and pop into the oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, check for doneness, and remove. 

As the cauliflower roasts, mix together the sauce in a small bowl. Combine yogurt, lemon juice, vinegar, dill weed, garlic powder and salt. 

While the cauliflower is still warm, toss the cauliflower in the sauce. Depending on the size of your cauliflower, you might not need all the sauce. I'd say use about 3/4 of it, and save the rest for dipping other things in. 

Simple, healthy, and a new way to make veggies delicious.

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Monday, October 17, 2016

Pumpkin & Butternut Squash Soup

This baby bump and fall weather have me ready to nestle in and get cozy. All you see in stores are pumpkins and a vast array of squash, so loaded up with ingredients, this soup was a must. I made a similar version of this soup a few years ago, but I've upgraded it with pumpkin this time. 

Pumpkin & Butternut Squash Soup
makes 1 large pot of soup

1 yellow onion (diced)
1 medium carrot (peeled & diced)
2 stalks celery (diced)
6 cloves garlic (rough chop)
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika
1 butternut squash (halved, peeled & seeds removed)
15 ounces can pumpkin puree
15 ounces can Cannellini Beans
1 spring rosemary
4 cups homemade or low sodium chicken broth
4 cups water
1 cup cream
1/2 cup Parmesan (grated)
Salt and pepper
olive oil

Heat a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat and add olive oil. Add in onion, carrot, celery, salt and pepper. Let soften for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute.

Deglaze pan with dry white wine and let reduce for 2-3 minutes. Now add paprika and bay leaves.

Add in previously peeled and cubed butternut squash, can of pumpkin puree, and drained Cannellini beans. Add a big pinch of salt, pepper and add rosemary. Put the rosemary in a spice bag if you have it. Mix and let cook together for 5 minutes.

Add in chicken broth and water, with another generous pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for 45 minutes.

Turn off heat. Using a spider or slotted spoon, remove about 1/4 - 1/2 of the squash and bean hunks to a bowl. Set aside. With an immersion blender, puree everything left in the Dutch oven, until very smooth.

Add back in the un-pureed hunks of veggies and beans. Add the cream and parmesan as well. Stir everything together and taste. Adjust seasoning as necessary. 

Serve warm with toasted bread or a grilled cheese.

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Friday, September 9, 2016

Paprika Pork Chops over Cabbage & Onions

These past few weeks have been crazy busy. Hence, I've been doing very little cooking and had very little time to blog about anything. A couple of weeks ago we were down in Columbus for my sister-in-law's wedding shower. Last weekend my parents came up to Chicago to celebrate Labor Day weekend with us, and this week my in-laws are coming up for a visit. And in between all these fun weekends, work has been jam packed. 

So, this pork chop recipe was a really quick and simple weeknight meal that I could sneak in between everything else. It only takes about 25 minutes to make and it's so filled with flavor, I'm glad I spotted this inspration on Food52!

Paprika Pork Chops over Cabbage & Onions
makes 4 servings

4 boneless, medium cut pork chops
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp hot paprika
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 red onion (sliced thin)
1/4 head red cabbage (sliced thin)
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp prepared horseradish
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper
olive oil

Begin by making the spice mixture. Combine cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, paprika and oregano in a small bowl. Season the pork chops generously first with salt and pepper. Then add the spice mixture to all sides of the pork. Let this set aside for about 15 minutes. 

As the pork comes to room temperature and rests, get the onions and cabbage going. In a Dutch over or your largest saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add red onion, cabbage, garlic, horseradish, salt and pepper. Let cook down for about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, add in the apple cider vinegar and cook for another 2 minutes. Push the mixture over to the side in the pan. 

Add some more olive oil to the open space left in the pan and drop in the pork chops. Cook on 1 side for 5 minutes, flip and cook on the other for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat. Cover the pan with a lid and let rest for 5 minutes. 

Serve the pork chops over that yummy onion/cabbage mixture. 

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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Shrimp & Tomato Zoodles

TGIT. We're headed back to Ohio this weekend to celebrate my sister-in-law's wedding shower, and I seriously can't wait for this week to be over. I'm over it.

So for a quick weeknight meal, I recently made this yummy zoodle pasta dish. Zoodles are no match for real pasta, obviously, but for a super healthy, low carb alternative, I'm a fan. To give this dish a little fat and flavor, I've used a few pats of butter which went a long way. You could certainly sub out the zoodles here and just use spaghetti.

Shrimp & Tomato Zoodles

makes 3-4 servings
cook time: 30 minutes active

1 lb peeled & deveined shrimp (raw)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 shallot (diced)
6 cloves garlic (thinly sliced)
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1/2 lemon (juice)
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
3 tbsp unsalted butter
olive oil
salt and pepper

for the zoodles
2-3 zucchini (spiralized)
2 tbsp low sodium chicken broth
olive oil
salt and pepper

Start by spiralizing the zucchini. My preference is to use the thinnest zoodle option, but any will work. Spiralize the zucchini and place into a collander. Sprikle with salt and toss to coat. Put the collander over a bowl and let sit 30-60 minutes. This will help draw out some of the liquid in the zucchini. After 30-60 minutes, pat the zoodles dry and set aside. 

As your zoodles drain, get the shrimp started. Sprinkle shrimp with salt, pepper and garlic powder. 

Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp olive oil. Drop in about 1/2 of the shrimp, making sure each shrimp touches the pan on one entire side. Cook for 2 minutes on 1 side, and flip for another 2 so they are browned on both sides. Remove with tongs to a plate. Repeat the process with the other 1/2 of the shirmp. Remove to the plate. 

Lower heat to medium and add additional olive oil. Add shallots, cook for 3 minutes. Add garlic slices and cook for 1 additional minute. Now add tomatoes, lemon juice, chicken broth, wine, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer. Let simmer for 8 minutes. Add shrimp back in and 1 more tbsp of butter. Let the butter melt, about 30 seconds and remove from heat. 

As the shrimp cooks, you're going to saute your zoodles. In a separate saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add zoodles, 2 tbsp chicken broth, salt and pepper. Let cook for 3-5 minutes. You don't want the zoodles completely soggy, but a little bite left in them. Remove from heat.

Pile up some zoodles on your plate, and pour the shrimp, tomato sauce over top. Finish wish a sprinkling of parmesan. 

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Spicy Shredded Chicken Tacos

Yes, another taco recipe. A shredded chicken one this time. I've made another variations of this recipe here, but I think this one is a little bit better, and definitely a little bit spicier. Thanks to my mom and dad, I had a bunch of fresh peppers from their garden to use in this one. Definitely pretty hot, but if you use 1 poblano as I mention in the recipe, you'll be just fine. 

And finally, a note on chicken tacos. While I am a huge fan of carnitas or any slow cooked pork tacos, shredded chicken tacos take significantly shorter to make, and are so delicious if you make a cook simmering liquid. Okay, that's all. Enjoy.

Spicy Shredded Chicken Tacos
makes enough chicken for ~20 tacos
cook time: 30 min active, 1.5 hr inactive

2.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 yellow onion (diced)
6 - 8 cloves garlic (crushed)
1 poblano pepper or 3-4 smaller peppers (mild/med heat)
1 4 oz. can green chilis (diced)
2 chipotles in adobo sauce (diced)
1 15 oz. can fire roasted tomatoes (diced)
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/2 lime (juice)
spices: cumin, coriander, garlic powder, green/red chili powder
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper
olive oil

for the tacos
red cabbage slaw (recipe below)
avocado slices
sour cream or Greek yogurt
corn tortillas (La Tortilla Factory White Corn Tortillas are my fave.)

Give yourself a few hours to make this so the chicken can cook nice and slow. 

Cut the chicken breasts in half and cover in cumin, garlic powder, coriander, green/red chili powder, salt and pepper.

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat with olive oil. Add half the chicken and brown on one side for 3 minutes. Flip and brown the other side for 3 more minutes. Remove from heat, and add remaining chicken to the pan, cooking the same time. Remove all chicken to a plate. 

Lower heat to medium. Add onions and chopped up poblano, can of green chilis, a mix of spices, salt and pepper. Let cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute. 

Add in the chipotles with the juice from when you diced them up, diced tomatoes and chicken broth. Add a few more pinches of each spice, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Stir to combine everything and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, add chicken and accumulated juices, and lime juice. Cover and keep over low heat for about 1.5 hours. Shred the chicken directly in the pot, it will fall apart. Let simmer, covered, for 10 more minutes once shredded.

Serve on warm tortillas with your favorite taco toppings. My toppings for this taco included fresh avocado, cilantro, Greek Yogurt and a homemade quick slaw... see below. 

for the red cabbage slaw

1/4 head purple cabbage (grated on mandolin)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp honey
2 tbsp cilantro (chopped)
2 green onions (finely sliced)
salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients and let sit for 30 minutes before serving. 

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Friday, August 12, 2016

Eggplant Lasagna (no pasta!)

Eggplant is at the farmer's market now, and what the heck to do with it. My sister recently bought some at one of her local markets, but had to skip town before she could use it. So, hand me down eggplant ended up in my kitchen. 

One night this week I can home from work around 6 and really wanted a home cooked meal, and to use up these eggplants before they went bad. In about 20 minutes depending on your multitasking abilities and knife skills, this baby will be in the oven. There are so many reasons I loved this dish. Easy and fast to make. Low carb. Easy clean up. Really, so delicious. Leftovers!

No Pasta Eggplant Lasagna
makes 4-6 servings

1 yellow onion (diced)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tbsp dried Italian oregano
1 large purple eggplant (thinly sliced)
1.5 cups shredded mozzarella
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup low fat cottage cheese
olive oil
salt and pepper

Make your sauce first, and then prep everything else. Heat 1-2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat in a medium sauce pan. Add onions and let cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic, crushed red pepper flakes , and cook for 1 minute. Now add the whole can of crushed tomatoes, oregano, salt and pepper, and let simmer for 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. As the sauce simmers, slice up the eggplant, into 1/4 inch slices. If they're too thick they won't cook. Grease a square or other small baking dish with cooking spray or olive oil. 

Now, begin the layering process as follows:
Layer 1: Sauce to coat the bottom, 5-6 eggplant slices, mozzarella, Parmesan, salt, pepper
Layer 2: 5-6 eggplant slices, sauce, cottage cheese, Parmesan, salt, pepper
Layer 3: 5-6 eggplant slices, sauce, mozzarella, Parmesan, salt, pepper
Layer 4: 5-6 eggplant slices, sauce, mozzarella, Parmesan, salt, pepper

If you have extra ingredients, and your dish allows it, go ahead and make another layer. The top layer should finish with cheese though!

Cover the dish with foil and pop into the oven for 50 minutes. After 50 minutes, remove the foil and let cook for another 10-15 minutes. 

Remove and let cool for at least 5 minutes. Serve with extra parmesan and don't leave any sauce behind in the pan!

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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Better Pictures & White Bean Artichoke Dip

Noticed my pictures getting better lately? I'm not bragging, just kind of stating the obvious. The reason: my kitchen isn't a dark cave anymore + I have outdoor space. Natural light! It's so much easier to take good pictures when you have natural light. I struggled for years to take good pictures for a few reasons. Let me take you through my journey. 

2011 - 2012: Pictures on an iPhone 4 or a snap and shoot camera from college. Boo. 
2012 - 2013: New DSLR camera, yay! Literally no clue how to use it.
2014 - 2015: Knew what I was doing wrong, but had no access to natural light. No photo editing.
2016: I have a good camera and lens. Have tons of natural light to work with at my new house. And... I started using some editing software. Blair from The Fox & She wrote an article last year about good, affordable editing software and I tried it out. Its crazy how much better edited pictures look... duh. Thanks for that Blair!
2016 - beyond: Food styling progress. Better pictures. Update my blog to a new platform. Someday...

So, if you're a professional photographer you probably think my pictures are shit. I'm sure they are. But, 5 years later I'm glad to say they aren't horendous and I feel proud of them! Here's to a continued and evolving journey of my favorite hobby. Food blogging.

White Bean Artichoke Dip
makes enough for a party

15.5 oz can cannellini beans (drained)
14 oz can artichoke hearts (drained, rough chop)
2 tbsp tahini
1 lemon (juice + 1/2 zest)
1 clove garlic (whole)
1 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper

for dipping
pita crackers/chips
warm pita bread
fresh veggies

In a food processor, add the cannellini beans, tahini and garlic clove. Pulse until smooth, for 3-4 minutes. Scrape down the sides as necessary (with the blade off obviously).

In a medium mixing bowl, add chopped artichoke hearts, juice from a whole lemon and half the zest, Greek yogurt, olive oil, and cayenne pepper. Pour in the cannellini bean mix. Mix everything to combine, taste, and add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve in a serving bowl with a drizzle of olive oil on top and some freshly grated pepper. I served mine with my favorite pita crackers from Trader Joes. You could also serve with fresh veggies like carrots and cucumbers, or warm pita bread.

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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps & an Anniversary

How is it already August? This year is flying by. It's already been 1 year since Brian and I got married, 1 year! Crazy town. We celebrated our first anniversary yesterday. We had big plans to go to one of our favorite restaurants, Girl & the Goat. But when the time came, on a Monday night, we couldn't bring ourselves to leave the house. So sad, I know. But since both of us weren't in the mood, we decided that we should do what we felt like, and ordered Indian take-out. Romance.

Anyhow, last weekend the Olympics kicked off and our friends threw an Opening Ceremony Party. Such a fun idea. Everyone brought food from different regions and countries. Filipino nuts, Mexican dip, Around the World Cheese Plate, Brazilian Steak, Mediterranean White Bean Dip, and this recipe, Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps. I'm not pegging this to any country in Asia because this is probably more American than Asian. But hey, I used soy sauce and ginger. A little Asian, right?

Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps
makes 15 - 20 lettuce wraps

1.5 - 2 lbs ground chicken (dark or white meat)
6-8 cloves garlic (minced)
1 inch ginger (peeled and minced/grated)
2 serrano chilies (seeds removed, thinly sliced)
1 8oz. can diced water chestnuts
4 green onions (diced)
2 heads butter or Boston lettuce (leaves carefully removed)
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

for the sauce:
4 tbsp Hoisin sauce
2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp corn starch (optional)

extra hoisin sauce
soy + sriracha + vinegar sauce
green onion (diced)
cilantro (diced)
pickled shaved carrots
pickled shaved cucumber

Prep all of your toppings and sauce ahead of time. For the sauce, whisk everything together. The corn starch will thicken up the sauce, which is optional but recommended. 

Toppings: For the pickled veggies, boil 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup white vinegar and 1/2 tbsp salt. In 2 small sealable containers, put shaved carrots in one and thinly sliced cucumber in the other. Pour hot pickling liquid into both. Let cool before serving. 

In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium to medium-high heat. Add ground chicken and a pinch of salt. Cook, breaking chicken up so that it crumbles for about 7-8 minutes. Some of the chicken will have browned. If you need to cook the chicken in 2 batches, go for it. Remove chicken with a slotted spoon to a plate.

If there is too much fat left in the pan, drain a bit. If not, lower heat to medium and add ginger, serrano, garlic, salt and pepper. Just a little salt. Cook for 4-5 minutes. Add chicken back in, with all the juices accumulated on plate, water chestnuts and green onions. Stir to combine everything and let cook for 3 more minutes. 

Finally, add the sauce to the mixture. Mix to combine everything and let cook only for about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and add to a serving bowl.

Make your lettuce wraps. Spoon some of the chicken mixture into a lettuce leaf, and top with your favorite toppings! 
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