Category Archives: Recipes

Recap — and a recipe

I love when weekends revolved around food. Cooking and eating are two of my favorite activities, so needless to say when weekend events are food-centric, I’m a happy camper.

First up was a dinner party with some friends I’ve known for years. One thing I love about living in Atlanta again is getting to see people I went to high school with. It is always so much fun to reminisce and catch up, but also to talk about their lives now and what the future holds. We decided instead of the host making most of the food, everyone should bring a few dishes to share, sort of tapas style. We had quite the spread — and everything was delicious.

photo 1Now for descriptions, starting at the top and moving clockwise. Laura made this delicious pasta dish with pumpkin. You wouldn’t necessarily think of pumpkin as a pasta sauce as opposed to a pasta filling, but it was so good. And those brussels sprouts? I could have eaten the whole platter full. Elizabeth made these delicious dips — one with bacon and one with pineapple. The pineapple one was my favorite. She also made these cucumber cups filled with hummus and topped with tomatoes and cheese. I love tomatoes and cucumbers — and cheese of course — so these were little scrumptious bites.

As for what Eric and I brought, we made a berry slab pie with chocolate (if you haven’t ever heard of a slab pie, try it out. This was the recipe we used) and roast beef sliders with a variety of toppings. I just cooked the beef in the crock pot and then shredded it up, served it alongside pieces of French bread and three toppings — horseradish cream, caramelized onions and arugula pesto.

Let’s talk about this arugula pesto. I am now obsessed with arugula pesto. I used the leftovers as a spread of a turkey sandwich and I can only imagine how delicious it would be on pasta. And it couldn’t be simpler to make. The recipe is below.

Arugula Pesto
(This makes about 3/4 cup pesto)

3 cups of arugula
3 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (or more to get the consistency you want)
Salt and pepper to taste

1) Combine all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse until blended. Continue to season with salt and pepper until you get the taste you desire. Use for a topping on sandwiches, salads, pastas, meats — the possibilities are endless. This kept in the fridge for about two days, and can easily be frozen for future use.

That was Saturday night. Sunday consistent of lunch and a lazy afternoon of football watching at my parents’ house, and then most importantly — a “Sherlock” watching party at our place Sunday night.

Of all of the Sherlock Holmes adaptations, the BBC one is my hands down favorite. Something about the chemistry between Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman is just so irresistible. We had two other couples over, I knew from the get go that I wanted to bake somethings special. Keeping with the British theme, I went with a shortbread recipes. And to make the cookies even more appropriate, I bought cookie cutters in the shapes of Holmes and Watson.

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How freaking cool is that? Best $10 I ever spent. Unfortunately, I think the recipe was too buttery for cutout cookies to work — and my oven jumped from 350 to 400 with no warning — so the cookies didn’t hold their shape. But Eric saved the day with a genius idea.

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Not what I had exactly planned, but still awesome — and delicious. They sort of look like “Sherlock” coins. Our friends ate them up and they were the perfect compliment to “The Empty Hearse.”

Turkey Sausage Stuffed Peppers

For the past four years, I thought Eric didn’t like stuffed peppers. Then last week, he requested them for dinner. This was my face.

But I was more than happy to oblige. I love stuffed peppers. I have a recipe I like that uses brown rice and veggies, but Eric insisted that some sort of meat needed to be involved. So I created these.

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Stuffed peppers never photograph well. But it sure was tasty.

Now just a note, I used turkey sausage that had been precooked in my homemade pasta sauce, but you could use any meat you want. Just plain ground turkey would also be good. Just add some extra seasonings.

Turkey Sausage Stuffed Peppers

2 red bell peppers, halved and cleaned out
2 links spicy Italian turkey sausage, cooked and crumbled
1 cup cooked white or brown rice
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 cup chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste
Cheese for garnish, optional (I used goat cheese, Eric used parmesan)

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2) Mix the turkey sausage, rice, tomato sauce and seasonings together in a bowl. Spoon the filling in to the pepper halves.
3) Place filled peppers in a casserole dish. Pour chicken broth in to dish. Cover tightly with tin foil. Bake for 30 minutes or until pepper is tender. Top with cheese, if desired, and serve.

Mahi mahi with a kale and edamame salad

One thing I pride myself on is being able to look at the ingredients I have on hand and whip something up for dinner. This delicious mahi mahi came from one of those ingenious moments.

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Eric was eating leftover Thai the other night and I had to figure out something for myself. I saw the mahi mahi. I saw the kale. I saw the edamame. Boom.

Now I have a pretty neat trick about softening kale. If you eat kale right off the stalk, it can be pretty chewy. Not that appetizing, really. Well I found a tip online that has completely changed how I eat kale. Take a big bunch of kale, put it on a bowl, sprinkle a pinch of salt on it, massage the salt in to the leave, let it sit for about 10 minutes. That is it. The salt helps break down the leaves so they have the consistency of regular lettuce. Now all I want to do is eat kale salads.

Mahi mahi with a kale and edamame salad

For the fish (This is enough for one fillet of fish. Adjust the amounts based on the servings you want).
1 piece, mahi mahi (any white, mild fish would probably work.)
1/2 clove garlic
1/4 tsp honey
1 tsp soy sauce
Shake of ginger powder (you could use fresh ginger if you have some on hand)

Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl. Coat the fish with the marinade and let it sit for about ten minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place fish on a baking sheet. Bake for about 8 minutes, or until fish is cooked through.

Kale and edamame salad
1 cup softened kale
1/3 cup edamame (or however much you want), shelled, cooked and cooled
Salt and pepper to taste

Vinaigrette
2 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp soy
1/2 tsp honey
Sprinkle of ginger powder (or grate of fresh ginger)

Combine the ingredients for the vinaigrette in a bowl. Whisk together and let sit for about 10 minutes for the flavors to mix together. Add in the kale and edamame and toss to coat with the vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper. Serve alongside mahi mahi.

Coconut water fruit slushie

Remember when I said I might talk about healthy stuff? Well, here we go.

Disclaimer: I do not like smoothies. I don’t know what it is. I’m guessing it has something to do with I don’t like drinking yogurt. Something with the consistency I suppose. That being said, in my mind, this is NOT a smoothie. It’s a slushie. Or a healthy slurpee. Think of it however you want.

Now I know this isn’t rocket science and I didn’t reinvent the wheel or anything. But this combo is quite delicious. It’s great to satisfy your sweet tooth when you are trying to cut back on maybe not-so-good for you things and is quite filling if you need a snack between meals.

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I used an immersion blender to make this, but a regular blender or even a Magic Bullet would be great for this. I’ve had so many of these in the past few days I’ve considered getting a Magic Bullet, but like I need another kitchen appliance.

Coconut water fruit slushie

1 cup coconut water (or whatever liquid you like: water, juice, lemon-lime soda, etc)
1/2 cup frozen fruit (I used a combination of raspberries and peaches)

Note: I prefer frozen fruit in this to fresh because it gives the slushie a thicker consistency. Fresh fruit would give more of an aqua fresca type consistency, but the choice is up to you.

1) Place all the ingredients in a bowl or blender. Pulse unless the fruit is smooth and everything is combined. Garnish with fresh mint if desired.

Salad with turkey and cranberries

Shortly after Thanksgiving, I was still craving Thanksgiving food. I just felt as though I had not consumed enough turkey. I knew that Christmas was a short time away and that Eric’s dad would have turkey on Christmas, but I needed a hit of tryptophan STAT.

I was wandering around Target one day — as one is wont to do — and found the wheels spinning in my head as I browsed the grocery aisles. I left with everything to make a salad that tasted just like the holidays — and it was delicious. I’ve eaten in for quite a few lunches as of late, and I have yet to tire of it.

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It is a way to enjoy the flavors of the holidays without all the guilt — and whenever you want. So enjoy!

Salad with turkey and cranberries

Lettuce (I used my beloved herb lettuce mix)
Turkey (You could use deli turkey. I used the carving board kind. Or use leftovers.)
Cheese of your choice (I used mozzarella, but goat cheese would have been tasty.)
Dried cranberries
Fried onions (the type you top a green bean casserole with)
Salad dressing of your choice (I used an oil and vinegar combo)

Combine all the ingredients and eat immediately. It is really that simple.

 

Easy Slow Cooker Beef Stew

rain

I didn’t realized when I left DC that I was moving to Seattle.

It has been raining for what feels like a month straight here in Atlanta and it’s getting old. The only thing I want to do is sit in bed with hot chocolate, watch holidays movies and then have some sort of soup or stew for dinner.

This stew is perfect for just that. It’s easy, requires very little prep, and will definitely warm you up on a cool, rainy evening.

Easy Slow Cooker Beef Stew

1 lb stew beef
2 lbs red potatoes, cut in to 1 inch pieces
1 bag baby carrots, cut in half
1 package vegetable dip mix (I used Lipton)
5 cups beef stock (or a water-bouillon mix)

1) Season the meat with salt and pepper. Brown stew meat over medium-high heat. This step isn’t necessary, but it adds a lot of flavor to the stew.

2) Layer potatoes and carrots in the crock pot. Put stew meat on top. Sprinkle with the packet of dip mix and cover all the ingredients with the stock. Cook on low heat for 8 hours or high for 6.

Tip: If you notice your stew isn’t thickening the way you want, take on tablespoon on flour and mix it with some of the broth until it forms a paste. Mix in to the stew and let it cook for another 30 minutes or so.

Mediterranean Chicken Stew with Baked Polenta

So yeah. Monday sort of got away from me. I looked up from my computer and saw it was almost 5 pm and was like “Welp, guess that recipe post will go up tomorrow.”

But it is a good one, so I hope it is worth the wait.

I’ve waxed poetic about my crock pot before and this is the first time I have attempted at creating my own crock pot recipe. And it was pretty delicious.

I was inspired by a recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, Everyday Food. It is a Mediterranean Chicken Stew that I made a lot a few years back. It takes about an hour on the stove so I figured why not adapt it for a slow cooker and make everyone’s life a bit easier?

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I served it over baked polenta, but you could just as easily pair it with couscous, quinoa or nothing at all. It is a good pick as the nights get cooler.

Mediterranean Chicken Stew with Baked Polenta

For the stew
1 lb chicken breasts
1 15oz can crushed tomatoes
2 gloves chopped garlic
1 tsp dried oregano
2 zucchini, cut in to 1 inch pieces
1 can chickpeas, drained
1 can artichokes, drained

For the polenta
1 cup ground cornmeal
4 cups water
2 tbls butter
salt, to taste

1) Place chicken breasts, tomatoes, garlic and oregano in crock pot. Cook on high for three hours. Remove chicken from crock pot and shred. Return to crock pot. Add zucchini, chick peas and artichokes, cook for another two to three hours on high.

2) With an hour remaining on the crock pot, combine the cornmeal and water in a casserole dish and bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and stir in the butter and salt, return to oven for another 10 to 15 minutes. The polenta will not jiggle when it is fully baked.

3) Spoon the stew over a portion of baked polenta. Serve immediately.