Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sour Cream Banana Bread

adapted from All Recipes


2 Tbsp. white sugar
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ cup and 2 Tbsp. butter room temperature
1 ½ cup white sugar
2 eggs
3 ripe bananas, mashed
8 oz sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
dash nutmeg
dash ground cloves
¼ tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. baking soda
2/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

optional topping
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 or 3 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease 2 bread pans. In a small bowl stir together 2 Tbsp. white sugar and ½ tsp. ground cinnamon. Dust greased pans lightly with mixture.

2.  In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and beat until combined. Add mashed bananas,  sour cream, and vanilla, beat until combined.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and baking soda. Add dry ingredients to banana mixture with a wooden spoon until just incorporated. Add walnuts if desired.

{If using optional topping- prepare by combining brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon and using pastry blender to cut in the butter until crumbly. Add chopped nuts and sprinkle over the batter in the pans.}

4. Divide mixture into prepared pans at bake at  325 for 60-70 minutes. Allow to cool in pan on rack.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Sweet Pea Cauliflower Couscous


I'm pretty sure this is the first time I've ever bought cauliflower. It just isn't one of the veggies I am naturally drawn to, but I really enjoyed it in this simple side.

2 cups cauliflower florets
3/4 cup sweet peas
2 cloves garlic, minced
coconut or olive oil for sauteing
3/4 cup whole wheat couscous
1 + 1/2 cup water
1/2 lemon, juiced
Sea salt and fresh pepper to taste


1. Steam the cauliflower and peas to desired tenderness.
2. In a large skillet saute garlic in a teaspoon of oil until fragrant over low heat. Add couscous, cauliflower, peas and water. Remove from heat and put a lid on the pan. Allow to sit for ten minutes.

3. Add lemon and mix well. Salt and pepper to taste.

Coconut Almond Crusted Chicken

from Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice


2/3 cup sliced almonds, crushed
2/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/8-1/4  teaspoon curry powder
pinch of sea or kosher salt
a few cracks of fresh black pepper
4 large skinless chicken breasts or cutlets, at room temperature
1/3 cup coconut oil, plus more for greasing pan.


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish with coconut oil.

2. In a large, shallow bowl mix coconut shreds, chopped almonds, curry, salt and pepper.

3. Rinse chicken and trim off visible fat. Pat dry with paper towels and set aside.

4. Melt coconut oil. Dip chicken in coconut oil, allow excess to drip off, then dredge in coconut/almond mixture, patting the coconut mixture onto the chicken. Place in single layer in baking dish. Add a bit more of salt and freshly ground pepper.

5. Drizzle remaining coconut oil and coconut/almond mixture over the top. Bake about 40 minutes for breasts or about 20-25 minutes for cutlets (internal temp. 160 degrees F).

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Impromptu Quiche

   We had tons of eggs that needed using so quiche seemed to be in order. I was at the store and wanted to make the quiche lorraine, but could only remember it needed leeks. When I got home I realized  that I didn't have most of the ingredients. Luckily quiche is a pretty flexible food and allows a bit of this or that. So this quiche was made with a little scavenging of the fridge and turned out to be just lovely. Really I think you could make quiche out of just about anything if there is good cheese involved.

2-3 tsp. olive oil
3 leeks, diced (white and light green only)
1 cup onion, diced
½ cup sour cream
½ cup half and half
4-5 eggs
salt and pepper
crumbled bacon
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese


1. Heat a large sauté pan over low heat. Sauté the leeks and onions in the olive oil 35 to 40 minutes until caramelized, occasionally stirring. Remove from heat and cool.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9 inch pie pan (I use spray). Mix the half and half and sour cream in a medium bowl. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time. Add salt and freshly ground pepper.

3. In the greased pan spread the leek and onion mixture evenly over the base. Sprinkle the bacon and then the cheese over the leeks and onions. Pour in the egg batter and place the quiche in the oven.

4. Bake until puffed and golden, about 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool slightly on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Want fries with that?

The beginning of December it was single mom time and so we ate this , this , and this for a few lunches and dinners. Now we're living out of suitcases for a few weeks- so cooking has been interesting. Instead of feeling super adventerous we've been making old favorites while getting acquainted with a different kitchen and of course eating out- Costa Vida & Cafe Rio once each this week, not too shabby.

This little Miss has been a great eater and has a new favorite way to eat apples. Instead of the typical slices, why not match sticks or 'fries'- certainly a lot better and she doesn't know the difference.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Reese's Cup Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

from Annie's Eats 

For the cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ½ cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled (optional)
For decorating:
1 ½ – 2 batches peanut butter frosting
miniature Reese’s cups, halved and/or chopped


1.  For the cake, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°.  Butter two 9×2” round cake pans, dust the insides with flour, tap out the excess and line the bottoms with rounds of parchment paper.  Place the pans on a baking sheet.

2.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

3.  In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy.  Add the sugar and beat for about 2 minutes, until thoroughly blended into the butter.  Add the eggs and yolks one at a time, beating for one minute after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Beat in the vanilla.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk; add the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the buttermilk in 2 (beginning and ending with the dry ingredients).  Mix each addition only until it is blended into the batter.  Scrape down the bowl and add the melted chocolate, if using, folding it in with a spatula.  Divide the batter between the prepared cake pans.

4.  Bake for 24-28 min minutes or until the cakes feel springy to the touch and start to pull away from the sides of the pans.  Transfer to wire racks to cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them and peel off the paper liners.  Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.
     To assemble the cake, place one cake layer on cake stand.  Spread peanut butter frosting on top of the cake layer.  (If desired, sprinkle with chopped Reese’s cups.)  Place the second cake layer on top of the frosting.  Frost the top and outside of the cake with remaining peanut butter frosting. 
5.  Decorate with halved and chopped Reese’s cups as desired.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thai-Style Pork Stew

adapted from Cooking Light

   We always like trying new recipes, and every now and then we find something extra tasty. I think this is one of those recipes. It certainly doesn't hurt that it is super quick to prepare and leaves the house smelling incredible. It was a teeny spicy for me,  but I will probably make it the same way next time. Nick thought the spice was perfect. (I'm kinda wimpy though.)

2 pounds pork loin roast, boneless (other cuts of pork would likely work)
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
3-4 Tbsp rice or white wine vinegar
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 tsp. sriracha sauce 
1/4-1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
2-3 cups (1 x 1/4-inch) julienne-cut red, orange, yellow bell pepper 

Remaining ingredients:
 brown basmati rice
1/2 cup chopped green onions
chopped cilantro
2 Tbsp. chopped dry-roasted peanuts  
lime wedges

1. To prepare stew, trim fat from pork. Place pork and next 6 ingredients (pork through garlic) in an electric slow cooker. Cover with lid, and cook on low-heat setting for 8 hours. After 7 hours, shred pork with forks. Add 1/2 cup of peanut butter and bell peppers; stir well. Recover and allow to continue cooking for an additional  30 minutes to hour. At this time, cook basmati rice.
2. Combine stew and rice in a large bowl. Top each serving with cilantro, green onions, and peanuts; serve with lime wedges.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Key Lime Pie

adapted from All Recipes and Gourmet

  I know it is the middle of November and most people are thinking of pumpkin or pecan pie... but I was just in the mood for something a little more tropical. It was easy to find key limes (they had them at Whole Foods) and 1 bag (around 15) yielded about 3/4 cup of juice. I used a bottled key lime juice for the other 1/4 cup.


For crust
1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs {from 9 (2 1/4-inch by 4 3/4-inch) crackers}
2 Tbsp. sugar
dash of cinnamon
5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

Pie filling
4 egg yolks
2 cans sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 cup key lime juice

Make crust:
    Preheat oven to 350°F.  Stir together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon, and butter in a bowl with a fork until combined well, then press mixture evenly onto bottom and up side of a lightly sprayed 9-inch (4-cup) glass pie plate.  Bake crust in middle of oven 10 minutes and cool in pie plate on a rack. Leave oven on. 

Make filling and bake pie:
   Whisk together condensed milk and yolks in a bowl until combined well. Add sour cream and whisk to combine. Finally, add key lime juice and whisk until combined well (mixture will thicken slightly).
Pour filling into crust and bake in middle of oven 10-12 minutes. Cool pie on rack for about 20 minutes (filling will set as it cools), then chill, covered, for several hours.

 Garnish with lime slices, whipping cream, or meringue.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ropa Vieja

adapted from Memories of a Cuban Kitchen

   Interested in "Old Clothes" for dinner? I wish I could say I grew up eating this dish frequently and have a family recipe handed down from my bisabuela or something- but I was a super picky eater until high school...and a cookbook from my esposo is the true source. The 'lahatchita' part of me comes from being 1/2 Cuban.  My mom used to joke that the only visible Cuban part was my Cuban booty. Nevertheless, I really love good Cuban food and hope to cook lots so that maybe my 1/4 Cuban daughter will have some good recipes up her sleeve in the future.
  I made the recipe as described below, but I think it could easily be adjusted to work in a slow cooker. Also, if you want to make it super authentic, you could make it with horse meat from Argentine horses- that is how my mom had it growing up.


1 1/2 - 2 lbs flank steak, cut in half
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 large green bell pepper, cut into thin strips
4-6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup cooking sherry
1-2 tsp. dried oregano
1-2 tsp. ground cumin
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2-1 cup early sweet peas, (if using canned, drain)


1. Place beef and one bay leaf in a large saucepan, cover with salted water and cook over low heat until meat is tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Remove the meat from the stock (save the stock if you desire), allow to cool at room temperature, then cut into 2-inch chunks.

2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the oil over low heat until fragrant. Add onions, bell pepper, and garlic, stirring until tender- about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes, sherry, oregano, cumin, and remaining bay leaf, cooking uncovered an additional 15 minutes.

3. When the meat is cool, shred it with fingers,  remove excess fat, and season with salt and pepper. Add it to the tomato mixture and cover. Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Remove the bay leaves, garnish with peas and serve with rice and beans and perhaps a little Cuban salad on the side.

Note: This dish can be prepared a day or two in advance, cooled, and refrigerated, then simmered (covered) over low heat until heated through, 30-35 minutes.

Serves 6-8

Ensalada de Aguacate

{Avocado salad}

   This is a pretty typical little Cuban salad with the European influence evident in the very simple oil & vinegar dressing. (Oh how I ate oily salads for 6 weeks in Spain...) The ingredients might seem a bit unusual, but they are good- te prometo. Enjoy it as a light accompaniment to another tasty dish.


watercress or lettuce leaves
1-2 large ripe avocado, halved and sliced
bit of onion, very thinly sliced-almost shaved
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. white vinegar (or lemon juice)
1-2 tsp. finely chopped fresh parsley


 On a platter lined with greens, arrange avocado slices and onion slices, sprinkle with a salt and pepper. In a small bowl whisk together oil and vinegar and drizzle over salad. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Fried Sage

slightly adapted from Gourmet

I found this recipe awhile ago and knew it would be perfect for my little gal who loves all things pasta and sweet potato. Homemade gnocchi does take more time, but I chose to freeze half of it so later on we can enjoy the fruits of our labors without all the labor...


1 1/4 lb russet (baking potatoes)
1 (3/4-lb) sweet potato
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano plus more for serving
1 1/2 to 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup sage leaves (from 1 bunch)
1-2 Tbsp. unsalted butter


Make gnocchi:

1. Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in middle.  Pierce russet and sweet potatoes in several places with a fork, then bake in a 4-sided sheet pan until just tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

2. Cool potatoes slightly, then peel (can use fork and knife-skin will come off easily) and force through ricer into sheet pan, spreading in an even layer. Cool potatoes completely. (I didn't have a ricer- I just mashed them up really well)

3. Lightly flour 2 or 3 large baking sheets or line with parchment paper.

4. Beat together egg, nutmeg, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Gather potatoes into a mound on the sheet pan and form a well in the center. Pour the egg mixture into the well, then knead into potatoes. Knead in cheese and 1 1/2 cups flour, adding more flour as necessary, until mixture forms a smooth but slightly sticky dough. Dust top lightly with flour.

5. Cut dough into 5-6 pieces. Form 1 piece of dough into a 1/2-inch-thick rope on a lightly floured surface. Cut rope into 1/2-inch pieces. Gently roll each piece into a ball and lightly dust with flour.
Repeat with remaining  pieces of dough. (I just estimated- just eyeball it to the size gnocchi you desire)

6. Use the tines of the fork to make an imprint on 1 side of each gnocchi. Transfer formed gnocchi to prepared baking sheets. (*to freeze see note below)

Sage leaves & Sauce

1. Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until it shimmers.  Fry sage leaves in 2-3 batches, stirring, until they turn just a shade lighter and crisp (they will continue to crisp as they cool), about 30 seconds per batch. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Season lightly with salt.
2. Add butter to oil in skillet with 1/2 tsp salt and cook until golden-brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
Cook gnocchi:

  Add half of gnocchi to a pasta pot of well-salted boiling water and stir. Cook until they float to surface, about 3 minutes.  Transfer with a slotted spoon to skillet with butter sauce. Cook remaining gnocchi in same manner, transferring to skillet as cooked.
Serve sprinkled with fried sage  and grated cheese.
{To freeze gnocchi- transfer baking sheet of uncooked, formed gnocchi to freezer. Once gnocchi have frozen you can place in a plastic bag and freeze up to a month. Do not thaw before cooking.)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Pasta with Turkey Italian Sausage, Tomatoes, Arugula, and Ciliegine

   When Nick and I were both in school or when I was working we took turns making dinner- usually whoever got home first had the job of starting. That meant Nick cooked a few times a week. We ate a LOT of pasta the first 3 years of marriage.       
      It has taken a while for me to build up confidence to make pasta for someone who lived in Italy and is very particular about his pastas. I still don't think I make any pasta as well as he does, but I am not as sheepish as I once was. The pasta snob and I agreed that this was a delicious, light pasta- the tomatoes were so sweet from cooking with the sauce... the bit of spice from the arugula...and the fresh mozzarella (though Nick did say the cheese didn't compare to Italian cheese at all). Lucky for us, we'll be in Italy in 5 months were we'll get to have all the cheese we want-including the mozzarella di bufala I keep hearing about.

1-2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 small/medium onion, diced 
3-5 sweet Italian turkey sausages, removed from casings and rolled into small meatballs
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2-1 tsp. dried basil (use more if fresh basil is available)
1  1/2 cups grape tomatoes (halved, if desired)
kosher sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
box of pasta (The original called for linguini- but penne is more toddler-friendly)
1  1/2 cups arugula, roughly chopped
10-12 balls ciliegine mozzarella cheese, halved


 1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and onion and sautee for 2-3 mintues. Place meatballs in the skillet and cook for 4-5 minutes. When meat is fully cooked, add chicken broth, oregano, basil, tomatoes, salt & pepper, and stir until all are incorporated. Allow to cook 8-10 minutes, while pasta is cooking.

2. Add pasta to boiling water and cook until al dente. Drain pasta and combine with sauce in a large bowl, tossing to coat. Add the arugula and ciliengini cheese then serve immediately. {If anticipating left overs- only add the necessary amounts of arugula and ciliengini cheese.}

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Oatmeal Cookies fit for a Lion

little cookies, for little hands 

{I know, I know. I kinda want to barf at the sign of anything sweet right now, but this post was from last week...}

    So… I may or may not have googled ‘healthy sugar cookies.’ I know, it  is an oxymoron, but I was thinking maybe there was some alternative to 100% sugar for Siena and her little friends to eat. No, I’m not one of those crazy people who doesn’t let my child eat sugar at all, but I am one of those people who’d rather give her treats that are from real ingredients and maybe have a little something good in them- in this case, oatmeal.
   I’m not pretending these are healthy- note the 2 cups of sugar and cup of butter. They would be divine with chocolate chips, peanut butter anything, white chocolate and dried cranberries, butterscotch etc., but for this special little lady we just kept it real simple.

I didn't have cinnamon on hand like my original recipe calls for, but I did have pumpkin pie spice- either is great.


1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt (or just under if you can)
1 tsp. pumpkin pie filling, or 1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
3 cups quick cooking oats


1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars. Add eggs, one at a time,  and vanilla, beating to incorporate.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie filling (or cinnamon). Gradually add dry mixture to sugar mixture, stirring to incorporate. Stir in oats til just blended.

3. Roll oatmeal into small balls (or use a cookie scoop) and place cookie dough on baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Allow cookies to stay on sheet for 3 min or so before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Southwestern Chicken and Barley "Soup"

 adapted from Perrys' Plate

{This is kinda cheating since this recipe was already on the blog a while ago...but we ate it again and this time I took a picture...and yes, that spoon had already been in my mouth.}

    Maybe I'm super lazy, but I am beginning to have the mindset that many soups taste better and are easier to prepare in a trusty crock pot. I threw everything in just before nap-time ended, cooked on high for 4 hours and called it done. This resembles a tortilla soup, but had a little something extra filling with the barely. This is a perfect number for a busy (or in my case lazy) day.


1-2 chicken breasts (fresh or frozen)
1-2 minced garlic cloves
2-3 cups chicken broth {depending on if you want it more soup-like or chili-like}
2 cups frozen corn
1 15-oz can kidney or black beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-oz can tomato sauce
1 10 oz. can diced tomatoes w/green chilies
1/2-1 cup pearl barley (uncooked)... or just throw in however much you'd like
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
dash of coriander
juice from 1 small lime or 1/2 large lime (about 2-3 T)

Garnish with...
green onions, chopped
fresh cilantro, chopped
sour cream
shredded cheddar cheese
avocado, diced

   In a slow cooker, add chicken through lime juice. Cook 3-6 hours at the appropriate temperature. Before serving, use two forks and shred chicken into bite sized pieces. Garnish with desired topping and enjoy every bite.

Serves 6

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins




Just wait til you unwrap it

and discover a little treat inside.


 slightly adapted from Annie's Eats

   Despite not really liking pumpkin pie, I do in fact love pumpkin breads and muffins. This is a tasty little treat- but beware, it is easy to eat several in one sitting. No, really.


For the filling:

8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup confectioners’ sugar

For the muffins:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin puree--- I used 1 15 oz can
1¼ cups vegetable oil

For the topping:
½ cup sugar
5 tbsp. flour
1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
4 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces


1. To prepare the filling, combine the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl and mix on low well until blended and smooth. Transfer the mixture to a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a log about 1½-inches in diameter. Smooth the plastic wrap tightly around the log. Transfer to the freezer and chill until at least slightly firm, 1-2 hours or up to overnight.

2. To make the muffins, preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line muffin pans with paper liners. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda; whisk to blend. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree and oil. Mix on medium-low speed until blended. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated.

3. Using your 'dry ingredients bowl' - make the topping by combining the sugar, flour and cinnamon; whisk to blend. Add in the butter pieces and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or two forks until the mixture is coarse and crumbly.

4. To assemble the muffins, fill each muffin well with a small amount of batter, just enough to cover the bottom of the liner-about 1 Tbsp. Slice the log of cream cheese filling into 24 equal pieces. Place a slice of the cream cheese mixture into each muffin well. Divide the remaining batter among the muffin cups, placing on top of the cream cheese to cover completely. Sprinkle a small amount of the topping mixture over each of the muffin wells.

5. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving. (It may be hard to resist immediate consumption, but the cream cheese filling gets very hot!)

Makes 24 muffins

Monday, October 25, 2010

Chinese Chicken and Broccoli

 adapted from the Nest and Annie's Eats

I love broccoli. Lucky for me it is available for a good part of the year. The first time I made a variation of this dish the broccoli was overcooked which was blah and the meal did not reheat well at all. This time around I was extra careful to leave my broccoli with lots of crunch and it was just as great the next day.


2 tsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. rice wine
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tsp. peanut oil, divided
2 tsp. sesame oil, divided
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. freshly grated ginger
1/4- 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
4 cups broccoli florets
6 Tbsp. chicken broth, divided
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. hoisin sauce
1 ½ tsp. brown sugar
1 (8-ounce) can sliced bamboo shoots, drained {forgot to add this time, but it adds some great texture}
scallions, chopped
sesame seeds, for garnish


1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and wine. Add the chicken and mix well. Heat half of the peanut oil and the sesame oil in a large skillet or wok over medium high heat. Add the chicken pieces to the pan and saute until golden brown and cooked through. {I threw in a bit of salt here}.

2. Using a slotted spoon, transfer cooked chicken to a bowl. Add remaining oil to the pan. Add garlic and ginger and saute about 30 seconds to a minute. Add red pepper flakes and broccoli.

3. Pour in half of chicken broth (it should steam and boil quickly). Allow broccoli to cook until most of the broth has evaporated but the broccoli is still semi-crisp (2-3 min). Add the bamboo shoots and stir to combine.

4. In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, hoisin sauce, brown sugar, and remaining 3 Tbsp. of chicken broth add to pan along with the cooked chicken. Heat through, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and add scallions. Garnish with sesame seeds.

Serve over brown rice.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Lime Marinaded Pork Tacos

adapted from Acquired Taste

We will use this marinade again and again- it was awesome. I think Nick liked it so much he thought it would be perfect to eat without any need for the rest of the taco :)


1 Tbsp. lime zest
2 limes, juiced (about 1/2 cup)
1 tsp. ground coriander
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
salt to taste
1 pork tenderloin

2 avocados
1-2 Tbsp. plain yogurt
1-2 tsp. lime juice (about 1/2 lime)
1/4 cup onion, diced
1/2 tsp. kosher salt

corn or whole wheat tortillas
shredded cheese
fresh cilantro
diced tomatoes
other options-- jalapeno pepper slices, sliced onion, lettuce


1. In a bowl whisk together lime juice, paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic, vegetable oil and salt.
In a large zip bag or glass container, place the pork tenderloin in and pour the marinade on top. Chill for at least 1 hour, up to several hours. (I did 5 hours)

2. When ready to cook pork, preheat grill and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Cook tenderloin over medium to medium-high heat, rolling to rotate and cooking in 3 to 4 segments until pork is cooked through with a nice crust on the outside. {I finished cooking my pork by putting it in the oven to broil for 5-7 min.}Remove from the grill/oven and allow to cool before shredding meat with either forks or your hands.

3. While pork is cooking or cooling, prepare guacamole. Place the avocado in a bowl with yogurt and lime juice. Using the back of a fork, mash the avocado together with the yogurt and lime juice. Stir in onion and salt. *Could add a bit of chopped cilantro here if desired.

4. Assemble tacos by heating tortillas on in a large pan. Assemble tacos with desired ingredients and chow down.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Baby Popeye

I've had a few friends ask recently what foods Siena loves and eats easily on her own. Here is one of the favorite breakfasts around here...

This girl chows down on spinach tucked into omelets, quesadillas, pasta, pizza, quiche, smoothies, and peanut butter sandwiches. (Okay, I'm not that mean.)

And not just a little spinach- the omelet is filled with the green stuff and she will gobble it up to the last bite.

and will usually ask for "more"

Simple Spinach Omelete

2 eggs
fresh or frozen spinach

I keep frozen spinach on hand and thaw some (maybe 1/4 cup or so?) in hot water. Remove the spinach with a fork and add it to 2 beaten eggs.
(I split the omelet in half, to make it last two days)

If it were for me, it would be loaded with cheese, but she doesn't even know she's missing it
other options: tiny diced bell peppers or onion, sauteed a bit before incorporating

While I'm making it, I usually hand her half a banana to enjoy. It really takes less than 10 min start to finish and the best part is- the next day breakfast is done!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Grilled Lemongrass Chicken with Red Quinoa and Vegetables

adapted from Self

Easy enough for prepare? Check

Healthy? Check

Delicious? Check

Husband liked it? Check

I liked it? Check

Baby liked it? Check

The lemongrass in this has such a wonderful aroma. I may or may not be salivating a bit thinking about it. I got a few stalks from Whole Foods for honestly $0.25 or so- don't be tricked into buying the pre-made stuff in a tube. Be sure to add fresh mint into the mix because it really is the ticket to making this extra delicioso.



3-5 medium shallots

4-5 stalks fresh lemongrass (tough outer leaves removed)

1 piece ginger (about 1 1/2 inches), peeled

¼- 1/3 cup canola oil

½ cup fresh lime juice

2 Tbsp. tamari (or soy sauce)

2 Tbsp. light brown sugar

1 tsp. sea salt, plus more to taste

1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoon ground coriander

3-4 boneless, boneless skinless chicken breasts

drizzle olive oil (1-2 tsp.)

1 cup red quinoa

2 cups chicken broth (or stock) or water

1 pound (about 3 cups) fresh sugar snap peas, strings removed

1-2 (2 cups) red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and thinly sliced

fresh mint, chopped


1. To make the marinade puree shallots, lemongrass, ginger, oil, lime juice, tamari, sugar, sea salt, pepper, and coriander in a food processor, until smooth. This should make about 1 ¼ cup of marinade. Place chicken in a baking dish and spoon on ¾ cup marinade, rubbing it on all sides. Cover; chill 1/2 to 2 hours. Reserve and refrigerate remaining ¾ cup of marinade.

2. When chicken is ready to cook, preheat grill. While grill is heating up, heat a drizzle of olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook quinoa until toasted, 3 to 4 minutes. Add broth; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until quinoa absorbs liquid, about 15-20 minutes. Turn off heat; let sit, covered, until ready to serve.

3. Meanwhile, grill chicken over medium heat turning once, for 4-6 minutes per side. Remove chicken; let rest two minutes. Slice each breast on the diagonal into 1/2-inch pieces.

4.While chicken is grilling, remove reserved marinade from refrigerator-whisk to freshen. Pour 1 Tbsp. of marinade in a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Cook sugar peas and peppers until crisp-tender, about 3-4 minutes. Turn off heat. Add fresh mint and toss. Serve chicken and vegetables with a side bed of quinoa. Warm-up reserved marinade and drizzle on top of chicken and vegetables for a little extra flavor, if desired.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Chicken Tomale-esque

adapted from Cooking Light

This was pretty tasty, though I was pretty surprised it came from Cooking Light. I guess it would be 'light' if you really got 8 servings out of it. We managed about 5ish. Nick wanted tomales but this was a good compromise for weekday. It came together really quickly (I cooked the chicken during Siena's nap) and we enjoyed it with a nice big salad on the side.

I think this could be played around with and might go well with onions, bell peppers, in a tomatillo sauce, etc.


1 cup (4 ounces) preshredded 4-cheese Mexican blend cheese, divided

1 tsp. ground cumin

1/8 tsp. ground red pepper

1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn

1 1/4 cup flour

3/4 cup corn meal

2 Tbsp. sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1 cup milk

2 egg, beaten

1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chilies, drained

cooking spray

1 (10-ounce) can red enchilada sauce

2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast *

sour cream

fresh cilantro


1. Preheat oven to 400°. In a large bowl, combine 1/4 cup cheese, cumin, pepper, corn, flour, corn meal, sugar, baking powder, milk, egg, and green chilies, stirring just until moist. Pour mixture into a 13 x 9–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

2. Bake at 400° for 15-20 minutes or until set. Pierce entire surface liberally with a fork; pour enchilada sauce over top. Top with chicken; sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup cheese. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until cheese melts. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes. Top each serving with a little sour cream and plenty of cilantro.

* This is a great way to cook chicken that needs to be shredded (pizza, enchiladas, pitas, etc). Preheat oven to 350 F. Season the chicken breast with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Loosely wrap it in aluminum foil and place it (directly on the rack is fine) in the the preheated oven and bake for 30-40 minutes until the juices run clear. After removing it from the oven let it sit for at least 10 minutes to cool and to let the juices settle before shredding or dicing it.

from A Hint of Honey

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Swiss Chard and Sun-Dried Tomato Skillet Mac

from Perrys' Plate


1 bunch Swiss Chard, washed
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sun-dried tomato pesto
1 cup plain yogurt (whole, not non-fat)
3/4-1 cup crumbled feta or goat cheese
8-10 ounces small whole wheat pasta (elbow, shells, etc.)
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan or Romano cheese


1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, according to package directions. Reserve a cup of pasta water before draining. Set pasta aside.

2. Preheat your oven broiler. Meanwhile, separate chard spines from the leaves, chop both, but keep them separated. In a large oven-proof skillet heat olive oil and over medium heat. Add chopped chard stems and onions. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 3-4 minutes, then add the garlic. Cook another 3-4 minutes until vegetables are tender.

3. Add chopped chard greens and stir, cooking, until mostly wilted (another 2-3 minutes). Stir in flour and cook another minute. Add pesto, yogurt, feta, reserved cooked pasta, and about a 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water. Stir and cook until everything is heated through and begins to thicken, about 3-4 minutes. Add more pasta water if you feel it's too thick. Mixture should be rather thick, but still saucy. Not watery.

4. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the pasta and place skillet under the preheated broiler {I transferred to a baking dish} for about 5 minutes or until it starts to brown slightly. Remove from the oven and serve.

Makes 4-6 servings

variations: use kale or spinach

{I think it's inconvenient when pasta recipes call for less than the box makes-- in this case the 13 oz of Barilla whole wheat shells... I chose to cook all of the pasta and just added a bit more of the other ingredients to compensate}

Monday, October 11, 2010

Stuffed Italian Burgers

slightly adapted from Annie's Eats

It may be October, but with the warm weather we've been enjoying (today is supposed to be 90!) we got a little craving for some burgers...


For the patties:
1 lb. ground sirloin (or good quality, low fat ground beef)
2 tbsp. yellow onion, finely chopped
1 tsp. garlic, minced
½ tsp. Italian seasoning
¼ tsp. black pepper
1-2 dashes of balsamic vinegar
Sliced fresh mozzarella
Fresh basil leaves
8 slices pancetta

For the basil ketchup:
1/3 cup ketchup
Handful fresh basil leaves (about ¼ cup)
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes

For serving:
wheat Kaiser rolls
Garlic butter (we did 1/4 of this recipe and it was more than enough)
fresh tomato slices
green lettuce


1. To make the patties, combine the ground sirloin, onion, garlic, salt, Italian seasoning, pepper and balsamic vinegar in a large bowl. Mix well to thoroughly combine. Divide the mixture into four equal portions; divide each of these further into halves so that you have 8 equal portions of the meat mixture. Form each portion into a thin, round patty.

2. Place a slice of fresh mozzarella and a few basil leaves on top of three of the patties. Lay the remaining patties on top of these, sandwiching the mozzarella in the center. Pinch the edges of the patties together to form one large patty with the cheese in the center. Wrap 2 slices of pancetta around each patty. Preheat the grill.

3. While the grill is heating, make the basil ketchup. Combine the ketchup, basil, garlic and red pepper flakes in a blender or food processor and pulse until well combined and finely chopped. Set aside.

4. Cook the burgers on the preheated grill until cooked to your liking and until the cheese inside has melted. Just before the burgers are done cooking, split the Kaiser rolls in half. Toast the buns and then spread with garlic butter. Assemble the cooked burgers on the rolls with fresh lettuce, tomato, and basil ketchup as desired.

Serves 4

Friday, October 8, 2010

African Curried Coconut Soup with Chickpeas

adapted from Epicurious

Don't be scared of the name. This soup/curry concoction is so flavorful and tasty- even a 1-year-old enjoyed it ...and hardly threw any of it on the floor.


2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1-2 red bell peppers, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 cups low-sodium broth
1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1-2 cups chopped tomatoes, seeded & peeled, fresh or canned (I used canned)
1 tsp. mild curry powder
1/2 tsp. coriander
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 cup water
1 cup couscous
1 (14-ounce) can light coconut milk (I only had regular on hand, so I used 3/4 of the can)
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro or parsley


1. In a medium stockpot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and chili; cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Add the broth, chickpeas, tomatoes, curry powder, coriander, and cayenne pepper; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer gently, uncovered, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.

2. While simmering soup, in a small pot, boil 1 cup of water. When water is boiling, add 1 cup of couscous, remove from heat and cover for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork and add to soup mixture with coconut milk and cilantro, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Variations: Black-eyed peas can replace the chickpeas, if desired. Use 1 cup cooked brown rice instead of couscous, or, for a lighter soup, the rice can be omitted.

The following day it was much thicker, we didn't mind, but it could have been easily thinned out a bit by adding more broth.

Serves 4