Weeks 44 and 45; Potato Gnocchi, Rack of Lamb, Cocktail Sauce, Lasagna, Baked Brie, Banana Bread, Enchiladas

This is going to be my last official post to wrap up this year. I have really enjoyed cooking and blogging about my recipes here. This has re-sparked my passion for cooking, and I cooked way more than I originally expected. I have enjoyed keeping the blog, and I might post throughout future years when I find particularly delicious recipes.  Here is my wrap-up of the year.

Potato Gnocchi

I followed this recipe to attempt gnocchi. I made gnocchi years ago and they turned out well. This recipe however did not turn out real well. They turned out more like mashed potatoes. This recipe made a lot, and I have 2 bags in the freezer. I think part of the reason the gnocchi didn’t cook right was because I used frozen gnocchi and I think I put too many gnocchi in the pot at 1 time. In reading different comments on the recipe, by putting too many frozen gnocchi in the pot at 1 time might drop the temperature of the water too much and the doesn’t allow the gnocchi to cook properly. I will attempt to cook the gnocchi in a smaller batch next time (~10 pieces at a time).

 

Rack of Lamb

I have heard that rack of lamb is not as intimidating as it seems, so I decided to give it a try (after watching lots of Hells Kitchen!). I followed this recipe. I followed the recipe to a T, however the lamb was a little on the rare side. After cooking it in the oven I separated each lamb chop and then continued to sear each chop in the pan. The lamb was delicious, and I will definitely be making it again to work on getting the temperature correct!

 

Cocktail Sauce

Cocktail sauce is super easy to make and I will definitely be making this again! I highly recommend not buying store bought cocktail sauce and to follow this recipe. I will be keeping horseradish on hand!

 

Lasagna

I made a vegetable lasagna soup and I had left over cooked pasta. I decided to attempt to make an actual lasagna. I used this recipe. I also placed fresh spinach between layers of the pasta. This lasagna turned out amazing! It was even better day 2. I have never made lasagna because I have heard it is a lot of work. By cooking the pasta days before, and using jarred sauce (but adding extra veggies) I actually found that this lasagna was really easy to assemble. I will be making this again for sure.

 

Baked Brie

This is going to be my new go to for parties. I have purchased store puff pastry wrapped brie before but this recipe was so simple and cheaper! There were rant reviews from everyone who tried it. I am curious to try this with different combinations of toppings.

 

Banana Bread

My mom makes the best banana bread. I got the recipe from her and made it my self. The bread turned out amazing and they guys definitely didn’t argue with helping me eat it.  The recipe is as follows:

1/2 cup shortening (I used coconut oil)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup mashed ripe bananas
1 1/4 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350°. Cream shortening and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Stir in banana. Sift together dry ingredients; add to banana mixture; mix well. Pour into a greased pan. Bake at 350° for 30 to 35 minutes.

 

Enchiladas

These cheese / onion enchiladas were delicious. I used this recipe mostly for cooking instruction. I put sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan, put tortillas with cheese and onions in the pan, and then topped with sauce. I made 2 pans so I could use 2 different sauces.

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Weeks 40 through 43:Cauliflower Leek Soup; Pumpkin Pancake; Blueberry Protein Pancakes; Horseradish Mashed Potatoes; Slow Cooker Cinnamon Roll Pull Apart Bread; Winter Fruit Salad with Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing; Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Squash with Dried Cranberries and Dijon Vinaigrette; Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Ham; Green Bean Casserole; Ruben Soup; and Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lasagna Soup

 

The last few weeks with the holiday I have been cooking up a storm. Cooking a new recipe each week this year has really re-ignited my passion for cooking. I love trying new recipes and hearing what feedback family and friends have.  Here is the round up from the last few weeks.

 

Cauliflower Leek Soup

This soup was delicious, but it needs some chunks in it. When I make it again, I would roast some cauliflower to add into the soup after it is pureed.

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Ingredients: ▪ 1 Tbsp butter ▪ 1 Tbsp coconut oil ▪ 1 large potato, chopped ▪ 3 leeks, sliced and tops tossed out ▪ 1 large head cauliflower, chopped ▪ 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped ▪ 3 tsp salt ▪ 1.5 cup Great Lakes Gelatin ▪ 4 Tbsp coconut oil ▪ 1 dash black pepper ▪ 8 cups broth (ideally bone broth, but any works)

Instructions: ▪ Heat the butter and oil in a large pot over medium heat and sauté the potatoes for 5 minutes then add leeks, cauliflower, and garlic and sauté another 10 minutes. ▪ Stir in broth and bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat and cover to simmer for 45 minutes. ▪ Remove from heat and blend in a blender, food processor, or with a hand mixer. Season with salt and pepper and continue to blend until desired texture is reached. Serve hot or store for up to a week.

 

Pumpkin Pancake

This recipe was super simple and really delicious. I would definitely make this again but making sure to cook them all the way through. Some of the pancakes I made weren’t cooked all the way through but the flavors were very good.

Ingredients: ▪ 1/4 cup pumpkin purée ▪  1 egg + 1 white ▪ ▪ 2 Tbs coconut or tapioca flour ▪ 1 Tbs Great Lakes Gelatin protein powder ▪ 1/4 tsp baking soda ▪ 1-3 tsp cinnamon ▪ handful dark chocolate chips

Instructions: ▪ Mix all ingredients EXCEPT chocolate chips. ▪ Preheat frying pan or griddle on medium heat, coat with coconut oil. ▪ Pour 1/3 batter on griddle, cook until bubbles form, about 2 mins. ▪ Sprinkle some chocolate chips on top, wait another minute. ▪ Flip and cook for about 3 more minutes or until cooked through.

 

Blueberry Protein Pancakes

This recipe did not turn out as well as the pumpkin pancakes… the pictures show that. They kind of turned into scrambled eggs that kind of tasted like flour? The last couple of pancakes that went into the pan tasted the best, but still not great. I would like to try these another time to see if I can get them to turn out.

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Ingredients: ▪ 1 large eggs ▪ 1 large egg white ▪ 1/2 tbsp organic honey ▪ 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice ▪ 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
▪ 2 Tbs coconut flour ▪ 4 Tbs Great Lakes gelatin protein powder
▪ 1/8 tsp baking powder ▪ 1/4 tsp baking soda ▪ Tiny pinch of salt
▪ Coconut oil or butter, for greasing the skillet ▪ 1/3 cup fresh or frozen blueberries ▪ 1-2 Tbsp Maple syrup ▪ 1% milk, to texture

Instructions: ▪ In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and add the honey, lemon juice, and vanilla and whisk until well blended. ▪ Add the coconut flour to the wet ingredients continuously whisking. ▪ Mix in the baking powder, baking soda, and salt. ▪ Grease a large skillet and place over medium heat. ▪ Once hot, use a ladle to pour 3-inch pancakes in the skillet. ▪ Once holes begin to appear in the surface of a pancake, drop a few blueberries onto it and flip, cooking each side for 2 to 4 mins. ▪ Repeat with rest of the batter and top with maple syrup or have on side for dipping.

 

 

Horseradish Mashed Potatoes

I used this recipe, but instead of sour cream I used Siggi’s icelandic yogurt. This recipe turned out well, but I needed to add extra salt, a little more butter, and extra horseradish. The recipe as indicated was good, but I LOVE horseradish and I need the extra kick!

Ingredients: ▪ 5 potatoes (diced) ▪ 2 tablespoons butter, divided ▪ ground black pepper to taste  ▪ 1/2 cup siggi’s icelandic yogurt ▪ 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish ▪ 2 teaspoons minced parsley

Instructions: ▪ Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain, and mash with 2 tablespoon butter and black pepper. Stir in sour cream, horseradish and parsley. Whip potatoes and place in medium serving bowl. 

 

Slow Cooker Cinnamon Roll Pull Apart Bread

I made this recipe for a group of guys one morning for breakfast. This  recipe took a bit of time to make, I had to make it in a smaller crockpot so the dough balls weren’t able to cook in one layer, they had to be stacked on top of each other. I had to pull the center ones out, and cook them at a later time for another hour or so. The guys agreed that the best part about this recipe was the cream cheese frosting (I did double the recipe for the cream cheese frosting). Needless to say, I don’t think I will be making this one again.

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Ingredients Bread: ▪ 24 frozen dinner rolls ▪ 2 sticks (16 tablespoons) butter. melted ▪ 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar ▪ 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Ingredients Cream Cheese Frosting: ▪ 4 ounces cream cheese, softened ▪ 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened ▪ 1/2 cup powdered sugar ▪ 2 tablespoons french vanilla creamer ▪ 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions: ▪ Place frozen dinner rolls on clean counter top or cutting board to thaw enough to cut, about 15-30 minutes. Meanwhile: melt butter in medium bowl and prepare cinnamon sugar. To prepare cinnamon sugar, combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a 1 gallon resealable plastic bag. Seal and shake to combine. ▪  Add 1/4 cup of melted butter to the bottom of  a 6 quart slow cooker, brush butter up the sides or use a paper towel. Set aside. ▪ Using clean kitchen shears, cut dinner rolls into 1/4’s. Place a handful of the cut rolls into the butter. Stir to coat. Remove from butter and toss in cinnamon sugar. ▪  Place half of the cinnamon roll bites into the slow cooker in an even layer. Repeat to make 2 even layers. Pour any remaining cinnamon sugar over top and pour remaining butter over top. Cover and cook on high for 1 1/2-3 hours (mine were perfect at 1 hour 45 minutes). ▪ Meanwhile prepare the cream cheese frosting. ▪ In a tall bowl beat cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Add powdered sugar and continue to mix until incorporated. Add creamer and salt. Mix until light and fluffy. ▪ Drizzle frosting over the entire batch of pull apart bread or serve on the side.

 

Winter Fruit Salad with Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing

I used this recipe to make this salad for thanksgiving. This salad was  hit! The dressing was great and the fruit as a nice way to break up the traditional heavy food associated with thanksgiving.

Ingredients Dressing: ▪ 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice ▪ 3 Tbsp granulated sugar ▪ 1/4 cup olive oil ▪ 1/4 cup vegetable oil ▪ 3 Tbsp honey ▪ 2 tsp poppy seeds

Ingredients Salad: ▪ 8 mandarine oranges, peeled and segmented ▪ 4 apples (preferably 2 gala and 2 golden delicious) ▪ 4 ripe kiwis peeled and diced ▪ 4 bananas, peeled and diced ▪ 1 1/2 cup pomegranate arils (from about 1 large)

Instructions for Dressing: In a mixing bowl or jar whisk together lemon juice and sugar until sugar has dissolved. Mix in olive oil, vegetable oil and honey until well blended. Stir in poppy seeds.

Instructions for Fruit Salad: In a salad bowl toss together all of the fruit then pour dressing over top and gently toss to coat. Serve immediately for best results.

 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Squash with Dried Cranberries and Dijon Vinaigrette

This recipe was a huge hit at my thanksgiving! The guys were all skeptical because of the sprouts and the squash but they all admitted that I converted them!

Ingredients Salad: ▪ 1 lb Brussels Sprouts, stems trimmed and sliced lengthwise in half ▪ 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil + 1 teaspoon ▪ 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt ▪ freshly ground black pepper ▪ 1/4 cup dried unsweetened (or sweetened) cranberries

Ingredients Dijon Vinaigrette: ▪ 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard ▪ 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar (or rice vinegar) ▪ 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil ▪ two pinches of kosher salt ▪ freshly ground black pepper

Instructions for Dressing: ▪ Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the butternut squash chunks and halved Brussels sprouts on a large baking sheet. Drizzle them with the 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, and toss them with your hands to distribute the oil evenly. ▪ Sprinkle the vegetables evenly with kosher salt and pepper, and toss them again with your hands. Spread the vegetables out evenly onto the baking sheet (tip: flip the Brussels sprouts so they are cut side down, they will caramelize much more evenly this way). ▪ Roast the vegetables at 450 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes (this will vary depending on the size of your Brussels sprouts and butternut squash chunks), tossing them gently 1 to 2 times during the roasting time to ensure that they caramelize evenly on all sides. Scatter the dried cranberries onto baking sheet in the last five minutes of roasting time. Place the baking pan on a rack, toss the vegetables with the remaining teaspoon of olive oil, and allow them to cool slightly while you prepare the Dijon vinaigrette. ▪ In a small bowl, whisk together the Dijon mustard and rice wine vinegar. Slowly pour in the olive oil, whisking continuously with your other hand, until the ingredients are emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste. ▪ Gently place the roasted vegetables in a large serving bowl or platter. Pour on the Dijon vinaigrette and toss the vegetables gently until they are lightly dressed. Serve warm, lukewarm, or cold.

 

Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Ham

I had never attempted to cook a ham, let alone attempt to use the slow cooker. I found this recipe on pin-terest and it was super easy and the ham turned out well. I would definitely make this again. We used a 9 lb ham, and I think it was a little big for the crockpot. I would make it again using a smaller ham.

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Ingredients: ▪ 5-7 lb. picnic pork shoulder ham (this ham will say ready to eat) ▪ ⅛ cup or so of mustard ▪ ½ cup brown sugar ▪ 1 (20-oz.) can crushed pineapple – DO NOT DRAIN

Instructions: ▪ Add the ham into the slow cooker, I put the part that looks sliced down. Squirt over the mustard. Pat over the brown sugar. Now pour over the pineapple, letting the juices fall down the sides, spread the crushed pineapple over the brown sugar. ▪ Cover and cook on LOW for 6 hours. Don’t open the lid while it cooks, so heat doesn’t escape. ▪ Using a carving fork, turn the ham around so the sliced side is on the side. Carve the ham, it’s ok the let the ham drop down into the juices, they are SO good.

 

Green Bean Casserole

I didn’t get green bean casserole over the holiday so I wanted to attempt to make my own. This recipe is from Alton Brown at the food network. This recipe was rather simple and the results were great. I used whole wheat flour but I think I would use all purpose flour next time. I will be making this recipe in the future.

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Ingredients for topping: ▪ 2 medium onions, thinly sliced ▪ 1/4 cup all-purpose flour ▪ 2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs ▪ 1 teaspoon kosher salt ▪ Nonstick cooking spray

Ingredients for beans and sauce: ▪ 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided ▪ 1 pound fresh green beans, rinsed, trimmed and halved ▪ 2 tablespoons unsalted butter ▪ 12 ounces mushrooms, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces ▪ 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper ▪ 2 cloves garlic, minced ▪ 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg ▪ 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour ▪ 1 cup chicken broth ▪ 1 cup half-and-half

Instructions: ▪ Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. ▪ Combine the onions, flour, panko and salt in a large mixing bowl and toss to combine. Coat a sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray and evenly spread the onions on the pan. Place the pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake until golden brown, approximately 30 minutes. Toss the onions 2 to 3 times during cooking. Once done, remove from the oven and set aside until ready to use. Turn the oven down to 400 degrees F. ▪ While the onions are cooking, prepare the beans. Bring a gallon of water and 2 tablespoons of salt to a boil in an 8-quart saucepan. Add the beans and blanch for 5 minutes. Drain in a colander and immediately plunge the beans into a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and set aside. ▪ Melt the butter in a 12-inch cast iron skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms begin to give up some of their liquid, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and nutmeg and continue to cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute. Add the broth and simmer for 1 minute. Decrease the heat to medium-low and add the half-and-half. Cook until the mixture thickens, stirring occasionally, approximately 6 to 8 minutes. ▪ Remove from the heat and stir in 1/4 of the onions and all of the green beans. Top with the remaining onions. Place into the oven and bake until bubbly, approximately 15 minutes. Remove and serve immediately.

 

Ruben Soup

I was craving a ruben but this time of year just screams SOUP! I found this recipe while walking around the store because I forgot the original recipe I found. This recipe was a good start, but it was rather cheesey and very heavy. I think I will attempt a ruben soup again, but I think I am going to try a different one that starts with a roux.

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Ingredients: ▪ 5 cups chicken stock ▪ 1 pound cooked corned beef, chopped and trimmed of fat ▪ 8 ounces Frank’s sauerkraut, drained and rinsed ▪ 1 small onion, chopped ▪ 2 cloves garlic, minced ▪ 1 teaspoon oregano ▪ ¼ teaspoon white pepper ▪ 1 bay leaf ▪ ⅓ cup cold water ▪ 3 Tablespoons corn starch ▪ 2 cups shredded carrots, chopped coarsely ▪ 12 ounces sliced Swiss cheese, cut into small pieces ▪ 1 cup heavy cream

Instructions: ▪ In a 5 quart Dutch oven, combine chicken stock, sauerkraut, corned beef, onion, bay leaf, oregano and white pepper. Bring to boil and reduce heat, and simmer covered 30 minutes. Remove bay leaf. ▪ Stir cornstarch into water. Add mixture to soup as well as the carrots. Cook and stir for a couple of minutes, soup will begin to thicken. ▪ Reduce heat to low, add the Swiss and stir until combined and melted. Stir in cream. Heat through. ▪ Serve topped with shredded Swiss cheese and Rye Croutons.

 

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lasagna Soup

I needed something hearty, warm, and vegetarian friendly for a work potluck and this recipe did just the trick! Without adding the ricotta cheese mix on top the soup tastes like a minestrone soup, but with the cheese – pure lasagna. I think I will make this again, but add some meat 🙂

Ingredients: ▪ 1 yellow onion, diced ▪ 2 cups brown mushrooms, sliced ▪ 2 zucchinis, sliced ▪ 4 cloves garlic, minced ▪ 1 15 ounce can tomato sauce ▪ 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes ▪ 6 cups vegetable broth ▪ 2 bay leaves ▪ 2 teaspoons dried oregano ▪ 1 tablespoon dried basil ▪ ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes ▪ 2 teaspoons kosher salt ▪ 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper ▪ 12 ounces lasagna noodles ▪ 4 cups fresh spinach leaves ▪ For the ricotta cheese topping: ▪ 1 8 ounce container ricotta cheese ▪ ½ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded ▪ ¼ cup parsley, chopped ▪ ¼ cup basil leaves, chopped ▪ generous pinch of kosher salt

Instructions: ▪ Add the onion, brown mushrooms, zucchini, garlic, tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, vegetable broth, bay leaves, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, kosher salt and black pepper to the liner of a 6 quart slow cooker, I use this one. Set the slow cooker on low and cook for 7 hours or on high and cook for 3½ to 4 hours. ▪ Once the cooking time is done, cook the lasagna noodles according to the package directions, drain and rinse and add to the soup. Cut them into smaller pieces if you’d like. Add the spinach and warm until wilted then ladle into soup bowls and top with a dollop of the ricotta cheese topping. ▪ For the ricotta cheese topping: Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Weeks 31 through 39: Crockpot Chili, Ground Venison on Sweet Potato with Roasted Baby Eggplant, Barbacoa, Meatloaf, Cauliflower Risotto, White Chocolate Pumpkin Snickerdoodles, Peanut Butter Pumpkin Pork Stir Fry, Pumpkin Soup, Serloin with Balsamic Reduction, Brown Butter Shrimp and Gouda Grits, Chicken Schnitzel, Pumpkin Protein Pancakes

Well I am not going to sugar coat it, finding the time to blog about all of the great recipes I am making has become the bane of my existence. However, I have found great value in the blog when I decide I want to cook something I previously made because I have this log of the recipes I have used. I will continue to say “perhaps I will be better about blogging more consistently next week” but I know that chances are life will happen and I will continue to be “delinquent”.  Over the past few weeks I have been cooking up a storm and really been enjoying trying new recipes.

 

Crockpot Chili

I did not really follow a recipe for my chili, I basically added a little of this and a little of that, and because I have this, why not throw it in. It turned out amazing. I have never put sweet potatoes in chili before but I highly recommend it as it turned out amazing. In the chili I put the following ingredients into the crockpot and let it cook on low overnight for 9 hours (all of the ingrents were raw except for the ground turkey which I browned ahead of time):

2 handfuls of baby carrots (sliced), 3 stalks celery (sliced), 2 ears of corn, 1  smoked ham steak (diced), 1 lb ground turkey, 1 green pepper (diced), 1 red pepper (diced), 1 large onion (diced), 6 small fingerling sweet potatoes (diced), 1 large can of whole tomatoes, 1 medium can of fire roasted diced tomatoes, 2 jalapenos (sliced), 2 bay leaves, chili powder

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Ground Venison on Sweet Potato with Roasted Baby Eggplant

While trying to figure out food for the week I saw that ground venison was on sale at the store and decided to give it a try. It tastes very similar to ground beef and I quite enjoyed using it on some chips with cheese to make a nacho. Additionally, as shown below, I also put some on top of a sweet potato with greek yogurt to make a savory sweet baked potato with some siracha. I had received some baby eggplant in the CSA box I received this week and I followed the recipe here except I did not use fresh oregano and I used dried, I used lemon juice instead of fresh lemons, and I did not use the feta cheese. I quite enjoyed the fresh garlic in the eggplant and I would make this recipe again.

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Barbacoa

Traditional tacos (great cuts of marinated, slow cooked meat) with onions, lime, and cilantro are one of my guilty pleasures. This barbacoa recipe was very easy and it made delicious barbacoa. I enjoyed eating the left overs on top of some spaghetti squash.

 

Meatloaf and Cauliflower Risotto

Nothing says comfort food like meatloaf. I used 1 lb of ground beef, an egg, a package of onion soup mix, 1/2 cup of oatmeal, some worcestershire sauce, water, and katchup (I eyeballed the measurements and added more things until I felt like it was the right consistency). I baked it in the oven at 350°F for 1 hour.

I also made a cauliflower risotto following this recipe. It actually turned out rather well. The “bullet style blender” we have did not chop the cauliflower like a food processor, so I hand chopped the cauliflower into small pieces. I wouldn’t call this a risotto, but it was a delicious cheesy cauliflower side dish.

 

White Chocolate Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

I am not a baker, but I was in the mood to attempt these cookies. I followed the recipe exactly, except for the baking time. The pans we have were not big enough to fit the silicone mats I purchased so the cookies were not laying flat on the cookie sheets and I had to keep checking / adjusting the cooking time. They turned out really well and I have now purchased larger cookie sheets so I can cook them appropriately.

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Peanut Butter Pumpkin Pork Stir Fry

I loosely followed this recipe but adapted it based on the vegetables we had on hand, and the fact that I wanted to use of some pureed pumpkin. I used coconut oil instead of sesame oil, pork chop instead of pork tenderloin, red chilies in adobo sauce instead of fresh, spinach instead of bok choy. I added some pumpkin puree and peanut butter to the mixture near the end of the cooking time. Let me tell you pumpkin in the stir fry = DELICIOUS! just look at the photo below, it tells you all you need to know.

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Pumpkin Soup

This recipe came from my gym, it was nice and quick. It was a little on the runny side, next time I might use some cornstarch to thicken it.

Ingredients: 1 Tablespoon coconut oil, 1 yellow onion, chopped, 1 teaspoon garlic, minced, 1 Tablespoon brown sugar, ½ teaspoon ground allspice, ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, 2 (15oz) cans pureed pumpkin, 2 cups vegetable broth, 1 teaspoon sea salt, 14oz 2% milk, black pepper

Instructions: 1) Place the coconut oil in the bottom of a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add the onion, garlic, brown sugar, allspice, and red pepper flakes. Sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. 2) Add the pumpkin, broth and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Use an immersion blender to blend the soup until smooth. Return the soup to a simmer and add in the milk. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

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Serloin with Balsamic Reduction

This recipe came from Homechef and it was delicious. I really enjoy getting the recipes as I enjoy learning how to balance flavors better.

Ingredients: 2 russet potatoes (peeled and cut  in large chunks), 8 oz Brussels sprouts (bottoms trimmed and halved vertically), 2 flat iron steaks (rinsed, patted dry, seasoned with salt and pepper on both sides), 0.34 fl. oz balsamic vinegar, 2 fl. oz. heavy whipping cream, 0.6 oz. butter, 2 Tbsp. bonewerks classic veal demi-glace, 1 fl. oz. sherry, 1.4 oz. grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions: 1) bring a medium pot with potatoes and enough lightly salted water to cover the potatoes to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 12-15 minutes. 2) Cook the Brussels sprouts in a medium pan with 2 tsps oil, cut-side down in the hot pan for 3-4 minutes or until the cut sides are charred and caramelized. Add 2 Tbsp water and season with 1/2 tsp salt. Cover and cook 3-4 minutes or until the Brussels are bright green. Add half the balsamic vinegar and toss. Taste and add more vinegar if desired. 3) Once the potatoes are fork tender, drain in a colander and return to the pot. Add the cream, butter, and 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Mash with a potato masher until smooth. 4) Cook the steaks in a hot pan with 1 tsp oil. Cook for 5-6 minutes on each side or until the steaks reach a minimum internal temperature of 145°. Remove from the pan and let the steaks rest for 5 minutes. 5) Prepare the demi-glace in the same pan used to cook the steaks. Combine the demi-glace, sherry, and 1/4 cup  water over medium heat. Cook 2-3 minutes or until warm throughout. 6) Place a serving of potatoes and Brussels sprouts on a plate. Place a steak against the potatoes and pool the demi-glace in front of the steak. Garnish with parmesan cheese.

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Brown Butter Shrimp and Gouda Grits

Another Homechef recipe that turned into a smashing success. The gouda grits were delicious, but next time I will probably add some garlic.

Ingredients: 1 green onion (white parts sliced into 1/2″ pieces, green parts sliced on an angle), 1 lemon (zested, halved, and juiced), 16 shrimp (rinsed, patted dry, and seasoned on both sides with salt and pepper), 1 cup instant grits, 3 oz smoked gouda slices, 1.8 oz butter, 1 tsp grainy mustard, 1.2 tsp red pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika

Instructions: 1) Whisk the grits into boiling water in a steady stream to avoid clumping. Stir until consistency is slightly thicker than pancake batter. Reduce heat to medium low and cook 2 minutes. Tear smoked gouda into large pieces and stir into grits along with 1/3 of the butter. Seasons with salt and pepper and remove from the burner and keep warm. 2) Heat a pan over medium high heat with 1 tsp oil and add the shrimp. Sear on one side for 2 minutes or until browned. Remove shrimp to a plate (they will finish cooking later). 3) Add the remaining butter to the shrimp pan over medium high heat. Allow the butter to melt and then cook for 3 minutes or until the butter begins to smell nutty, and turns golden brown. 4) Stir in the white parts of the green onion, mustard, 2 tsp lemon zest, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the shrimp to the pan and cook for 2 minutes or until the shrimp is done. 5) Place the grits on a plate and sprinkle with smoked paprika. Add shrimp, spoon the butter sauce over the grits, and garnish with the remaining green onions.

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Chicken Schnitzel

I had schnitzel for the first time at a restaurant this month and I loved it. I thought it was super fancy and hard to make and then Homechef had a chicken schnitzel recipe available that week so of course I had to get it! It turns out that schnitzel (or at least Homechef’s version) isn’t fancy or complicated at all. It is basically a thin breaded chicken breast. The recipe turned out well, and we will probably make it again. We might try to make it with pork next time.

Ingredients: 5 fl. oz. liquid egg, 1 lemon, 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, 2.7 oz flour, 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs

Instructions: 1) Place the chicken on a cutting board and cover with plastic wrap. Pound the chicken with a small pot or pan into an even 1/4″ thickness. Season both sides with 1/4 tsp. each of slat and pepper. Place flower, egg, and breadcrumbs into three separate bowls. Dip chicken first into flour, shaking off excess, then in egg, and finally press into breadcrumbs. Set aside on a plate. 2) Line a plate with paper towel. Place a medium pan over medium heat and add 2 tbsp oil. Add the chicken to the hot pan and cook until the chicken is golden grown and reaches a medium internal temperature of 165°, 5-6 minutes per side. Transfer to a towel-lined plate. Squeeze a lemon of the breaded chicken.

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Pumpkin Protein Pancakes!

I apologize there are no pictures of this because we ate them up too quick. This recipe was very simple and they turned out well. The pancakes worked best if the batter was laid on the griddle thinly and then cooked for a little over 3 minutes per side. This recipe is for one (1) serving of 3 pancakes.

Ingredients: 1/4 cup pumpkin puree, 1 egg + 1 egg white, 2 Tbsp tapioca flour, 1 Tbsp gelatin protein powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 2.5 tsp cinnamon, 24 chocolate chips

Instructions: 1) Mix all ingredients in a bowl EXCEPT chocolate chips. 2) Pre-heat a frying pan or griddle on medium heat, coat with coconut oil. 3) Pour out 1/3 of mix (slightly less than 1/4 cup) and cook until bubbles start to form (about 2 minutes). 4) Sprinkle 8 chocolate chips on top, and wait another minute 5) Flip and cook on the other side for about 3 more minutes or until cooked through.

 

Weeks 25 through 30: Chicken Soup, Roasted Cod and Potatoes, Chicken Apple Cucumber Salad, Coconut Oil Chocolates, Chicken Scaloppine, Steak with Fines Herbes Butter, Pork Butt

Whew, that is a long title. However it is a long title due to my lack of blogging and I hope to fix that in the coming weeks. Maybe I will be able to post more consistently. (?)

Chicken Soup

I was coming down with a cold and I wanted a good soup. I decided to attempt a chicken soup from scratch using a whole chicken in the crockpot. I cannot find the recipe I originally used but I will do my best to type it out. This recipe turned out well.

chicken-soup

Ingredients: ▪ 3 lb chicken ▪ salt ▪ pepper ▪ bay leaf ▪ bag of baby carrots ▪ large yellow onion (cut into quaters) ▪ 5 stalks of celery (cut in half)
Instructions: ▪ Place the vegetables in the bottom of the crockpot. ▪ Cover the chicken with salt and pepper. ▪ Place the chicken on top of the vegetables in the crockpot. ▪ Cover the vegetables and chicken with water until the crockpot is full and covers the chicken completely ▪ Cover the crockpot and cook on high for 5 hours or until the chicken has an internal temperature of 165°F. ▪ Remove the chicken and vegetables from the crockpot. Discard bay leaves. ▪ Cut the vegetables into bite size pieces and return to the crockpot with the broth. ▪ Cut / shred the chicken of the bones and place in the crockpot.

 

Roasted Cod with Potatoes

I have never attempted to cook fish in the oven but after this, I might have to do it more often. This would be a nice way to make fish for a group of people. This recipe is from my gym’s recipe book and is as follows:

baked-cod-and-chips

Ingredients: ▪ 1.5 lbs potatoes, cut into wedges ▪ 3 tbsp coconut oil ▪ 2 tbsp butter ▪ 1 tsp salt ▪ 1/2 tsp fresh-ground black pepper ▪ 2 tsp dried thyme ▪ 1.5 lbs cod, about 1 inch thick
Instructions: ▪ Heat the oven to 450°F ▪ In a large roasting pan, toss potatoes with 3 tablespoons of the oil, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper then scatter the thyme sprigs or 1 1/2 teaspoons of the dried thyme on top. ▪ Roast potatoes for 10 minutes then stir and cooking 10 more mins. ▪ Meanwhile, coat fish with the 2 tablespoons butter and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme on the fish. ▪ Remove pan from oven and stir the potatoes then push them to one side and put the fish on the other side of the pan. ▪ Return the pan to the oven and roast the fish and potatoes until just done, about 10 minutes longer and serve.

 

Chicken Apple Cucumber Salad

This recipe turned out great and would make a nice light salad for the summer time.  The recipe is also from my gym’s recipe book.

chicken-apple-cucumber-salad

Ingredients: ▪ 2 tbsp coconut oil ▪ 4 portioned 4 oz chicken breasts ▪ 1 large apple cored, peeled, diced ▪ 2 cucumber, peeled and diced ▪ Salt to taste ▪ 1/2 cup feta or goat cheese ▪ 3 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil ▪ 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice ▪ Ground white pepper to taste ▪ 1 small red onion, peeled and finely diced ▪ 1/8 tsp of parsley, dill, and mint
Instructions: ▪ Place diced cucumber in a colander sprinkle with salt and set aside to drain at least 15 minutes shaking the colander from time to time. ▪ Put coconut oil in frying pan and heat for 20 seconds on medium. ▪ Pound chicken to 1/2 inch thick, salt and pepper then toss into pan and cook about 3 mins per side or until cooked through, set aside. ▪ Crumble the feta into a bowl and mash together with the olive oil, lemon juice, water, and pepper. ▪ Mix in the cucumbers, apples, onions, and herbs and salt to taste. ▪ Slice up chicken and serve.

 

Coconut Oil Chocolate

These chocolates were the talk of the office (not only because they were delicious but because I have an elephant ice cube tray 🙂 ) and incredibly easy to make. Needless to say these will become a staple in my freezer.

Ingredients: ▪ 1/2 cup coconut oil ▪ 6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder ▪ 2 tbsp maple syrup or honey ▪ 2 tsp vanilla ▪ dash of salt ▪ Optional: frozen fruit, sea salt, mint extract, coconut, anything goes!
Instructions: ▪ Mix all ingredients over low (except optional ones) for 2 minutes. ▪ Fill molds (an ice cube tray works or store-bought chocolate molds) ▪ Place and keep in the fridge or freezer, sets in about 15 minutes.

coconut-oil-chocolates

 

Chicken Scaloppine

I decided to try home chef out and this and the steak with fines herbs are their recipes. I have to say that after traveling for 2 weeks it was nice to come home and not have to go grocery shopping right away and be able to have some delicious meals. This recipe turned out great!

Ingredients: ▪ 6 oz cremini mushrooms (quartered) ▪ 1 shallot (minced) ▪ 2 cloves of garlic (minced) ▪ 1 lemon (zested and halved) ▪ 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts ▪ 3 oz flour  ▪ 2 fl. oz. white cooking wine ▪ 6 fl. oz. heavy whipping cream ▪ 1 oz. shaved parmesan  ▪ 5 oz. angel hair pasta
Instructions: ▪ Rinse the chicken breasts and pat dry. ▪ Cover the chicken breasts with plastic wrap on a cutting board and gently pound with a meat lappet or small pan to a uniform thickness of 1/2″. ▪ Place flour in a medium bowl and season with 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess. ▪ Add chicken to a hot pan with olive oil and cook 5-6 min on one side or until browned.  ▪ Flip and cook 4-5 min on second side or until chicken reaches 165°F internal temperature. Transfer chicken to a paper towel lined plate.  ▪ Add 2 tsp oil to the pan and then add the mushrooms and cook for 1 minute.  ▪ Add the shallots and garlic and cook for 30 sec. ▪ Add white cooking wine, juice of half the lemon and cook 1-2 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced by 80%.  ▪ Add heavy cream, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes or until sauce is reduced by half. Remove from burner and stir in half the parmesan cheese.  ▪ Add pasta to boiling water and cook for 3-5 minutes. While pasta cooks add 1 Tbsp of pasta water to the mushroom cream sauce if the sauce seems too thick.  ▪ Drain the pasta in a colander.  ▪ Add half the mushroom sauce to the pasta in a pot.  ▪  Place the pasta on a plate, put the chicken on the pasta, and place sauce on the pasta and chicken. Garnish with the lemon zest, a squeeze of the other lemon half and the remaining parmesan cheese.

pan-seared-chicken-scaloppine

 

Steak with Fines Herbes Butter with Garlic, Potato, and Red Pepper Hash

We had a lot of the potato hash and would recommend making this for 3 people, or reducing the amount of potatoes. The hash was a little bland for my taste but a little of the the herbed butter was all it needed.

Ingredients: ▪ 0.9 oz. butter (softened) ▪ 3 oz kale (stemmed and coarsely chopped) ▪ 1 yellow onion (diced) ▪ 1 lemon  ▪ 1 red pepper (diced) ▪ 14 oz sweet potato (diced)  ▪ 1 russet potato (diced) ▪ 3 parsley springs (minced) ▪ 2 garlic cloves (minced)  ▪ 2 thyme sprigs (minced) ▪ 5 chives (minced) ▪ 2 flat iron steaks
Instructions: ▪ Rinse the steaks and pat dry. ▪ Season both sized of the steaks with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. ▪ Add 2 tsp oil to a pan with half the garlic to a hot pan and cook for 30 seconds. ▪ Add onions, red bell pepper, sweet potato, russet potato and 2 Tbsp water and stir to combine. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and cover, and cook 15 minute, stirring occasionally until potatoes are fork tender. ▪ Uncover during the last 2-3 minutes to cook off excess moisture. Add kale and cook 3 more minutes until wilted. ▪ Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. ▪ While cooking the hash, heat 1 tsp in a pan. Add steaks to hot pan and cook 4-6 minutes per side. ▪ Remove steaks from pan once cooked and let rest for 5 minutes. ▪ Make the fines herbes butter by mixing the softened butter, parsley thyme,  chives and garlic in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper.  ▪ Plate the potatoes hash on a plate with the steak next to the hash topped with a dollop of the fines herbes butter.

flat-iron-steak-and-fines-herbes-butter

 

Roasted Pork Butt

Honestly, I needed something to eat all week, and I thought hey I like pork, why not try to cook a pork roast!

I followed this recipe here, kind of… I followed steps 1-7 (mostly). It smelled delicious and turned out well. It also reheated well all week. (Sorry I forgot to take an after cooking picture.)

Ingredients: ▪ 3 lb pork butt roast ▪ salt ▪ pepper ▪ penzy fox point seasoning
Instructions: ▪ Preheat the oven to 300°F. ▪ Season the roast all over with salt, pepper, and fox point seasoning. ▪ Put the roast in a large roasting pan, fat side up. ▪ Add about half an inch of water to the bottom of the roasting pan. ▪ Roast the pork for ~ 40 min per lb until it has an internal temperature of 180°F. ▪ Remove the roast and let it rest ~ 30 minutes.

pork-butt

Weeks 23 and 24: Stir Fry Vegetables, Beef and Broccoli, Cauliflower Rice, and Pull Apart Pizza Bread

Weeks 23 and 24 Summaries

Stir Fry Vegetables, Beef and Broccoli, and Cauliflower Rice (3 recipes for 1 delicious dish!)

This dish turned out well (although I did alter the leftovers but more on that later). I served the dish with the “rice” on the bottom, followed by the vegetables on half the rice, and the beef and broccoli on the other half (see the photo below). I like the taste best after mixing the vegetables with the beef and broccoli. For the left overs I mixed the beef and broccoli with the vegetables and I added a decent amount of fish sauce and about a table spoon or two of peanut butter. I liked the additional depth of flavor that the fish sauce and peanut butter added and I would recommend adding it right away.

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Cilantro Lime “Rice”
Ingredients
 ▪ 3/4 of a pack of chopped cauliflower or 1 medium head cauliflower, rinsed and chopped in a food processor ▪ 1 tbsp coconut oil ▪ 2 garlic cloves and 2 scallions, diced ▪ kosher salt and pepper, to taste ▪ 1-1/2 limes ▪ 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
Instructions ▪ Set aside and repeat with the remaining cauliflower. ▪ Heat a large pan over medium and sauté coconut oil, scallions and garlic about 3 to 4 minutes or until soft. ▪ Raise heat a little, add cauliflower “rice” to pan, then cover and cook 5 to 6 minutes, stirring frequently, until cauliflower is slightly crispy on the outside but tender on the inside. Season with salt and pepper to taste. ▪ Transfer to a bowl then toss with fresh cilantro and lime juice to taste.

Stir-Fried Veggies
Ingredients ▪ 2 tablespoons coconut oil ▪ 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and sliced ▪ 1 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and sliced ▪ 1 cup half-moon sliced yellow squash ▪ 1 cup small broccoli florets ▪ 1 baby eggplant, cut into chunks ▪ 1 clove garlic, minced ▪ 1/2 cup Coconut Secret teriyaki sauce ▪ 2 cups sliced bok choy ▪ 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper ▪ 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Instructions ▪ Prep the veggies then melt butter in a large frying pan. ▪ In a wok or large skillet, heat coconut oil over medium heat then add the peppers, broccoli, and eggplant stirring constantly. ▪ While continuing to stir, add successively the squash, garlic, and teriyaki sauce and continue stirring for 2 minutes. ▪ Add bok choy, pepper, and salt and stir until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes.

Beef & Broccoli
Ingredients ▪ 1 tbsp. coconut oil, divided ▪ 1 lb. flank steak, thinly sliced across the grain ▪ 3 cloves garlic, minced ▪ 1 shallot, finely chopped ▪ 4 green onions, thinly sliced ▪ 4 cups broccoli florets (about 2 small crowns) ▪ 3-5 tbsp. tapioca flour ▪ ¦ cup water  ̛ cup coconut aminos ▪ 2 tbsp. brown or coconut sugar ▪ 1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced ▪ 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Instructions ▪ Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat and add the sliced beef. ▪ Cook until browned, about 6 mins, then remove from pan set aside. ▪ In the same pan, add garlic, shallot and green onions to the beef drippings and cook one minute, stirring frequently.
▪ Add broccoli and cover for 5 minutes. ▪ In a small mixing bowl, combine water and cornstarch and mix until no longer lumpy. ▪ Combine coconut aminos, sugar, ginger and red pepper flakes in a medium bowl and add tapioca flour (how much you use determines
thickness) and stir to combine then set aside. ▪ Remove lid, add sauce to pan and cook until thickened, about 3-5 mins. ▪ Add beef and stir to combine, cooking an additional 2-3 minutes. ▪ Serve over cauliflower rice if desired.

Pull Apart Pizza Bread

I followed this recipe here and I have copied it below. I have had this recipe pinned forever but never had an excuse to make it until this weekend. Let me tell you it did not disappoint. It was a great crowd pleaser. I made the dish in a 9 x 13 pan and it turned out just fine. This is probably going to be a go to dish to bring to parties 🙂

Ingredients ▪ 2 Cans of Pizza Dough ▪ 2 cups Mozzarella cheese (or your favorite cheese) ▪ 2 tablespoons of Italian seasoning or parsley flakes ▪ ⅓ cup coconut oil ▪  1 – 7 oz package of pepperoni ▪ 1 cup Parmesean cheese ▪ ½ teaspoon of fresh garlic or garlic powder
Instructions ▪ Preheat the oven to 350 degrees ▪ Cut pizza dough into quarters ▪ Cut the pepperoni into smaller pieces ▪ Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and toss so that the oil is spread evenly on each piece of dough ▪ Bake for about 30 minutes (or until the top is brown and the center is thoroughly cooked) TIP: Be sure to check it in the middle before you pull it out. If the middle is still not cooked thoroughly be sure to leave it in another 5 minutes at a time until it’s done. ▪ Flip over on to a plate while it’s still hot. ▪ Serve with a side sauce and enjoy!

 

Until next time, more cooking adventures await!

Weeks 20, 21, and 22: Pineapple BBQ Chicken over a Fire, Poppy Seed Dressing, Pattypan Squash Salad, Chicken Parmigiana, Peach Balsamic Chicken

Weeks 20, 21, and 22 Summaries

 

Pineapple BBQ Chicken

While camping over the 4th of July I decided I wanted to try to cook something other than burgers and brats and I came across this recipe. The recipe only needed a few ingredients and I already had a fresh pineapple cut up. I did not cut the chicken breasts prior to cooking because I didn’t want to handle the raw chicken while camping more than I needed to. I just created 4 foil packets for each chicken breast, placed the veggies and fruit on top, and then covered each with Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce. The packets were cooked for approximately 15 minutes per side. One of the chicken breasts was larger than the other and required and addition 5-10 minutes of cooking. We shred the chicken after cooking it and served the chicken in pitas that were warmed over the fire. The flavors were very good, but in the future I will probably pre-cut everything and mix it all in a bag before cooking to marinate. I will also probably add some salt and may be red pepper flakes, I was missing a little heat from this dish. Sorry I did not take a photo while camping. I left the phone in the tent!

 

Poppy Seed Dressing

Strawberries are in season and therefore it is time for strawberry salads with poppy seed dressing. I decided to attempt to create my on instead of getting one of the pre-made ones at the store. This recipe was rather simple and was really easy to make. I used a blender to mix all the ingredients. This recipe was not really sweet even though it uses 1/3 cup of sugar. If you are looking for a sweeter tasting poppy seed dressing I bet you could sub honey or agave nectar instead of the sugar to get a sweeter dressing. This recipe made a lot of dressing which we proceeded to use up the rest of the week. There is no picture since I stored the dressing in an old sour cream container and it wasn’t very picturesque.

 

Pattypan Squash  Salad

While at the farmers market I picked up some pattypan squash. I found this recipe and I figured a squash and shrimp salad sounded like a perfect light summer dinner. I will admit I did not really follow this recipe, cooking shrimp in the oven made me nervous. I didn’t want to over cook and entire batch of shrimp. I cooked the shrimp using the recipe I posted about previously (here). I quartered the pattypan squash and sauteed them in butter with garlic salt and Penzy’s foxtrot seasoning. I put the cooled shrimp and squash on a bed of spring mix lettuce and I topped it off with St. Elmo’s Cocktail sauce. While it may be an unconventional combination of flavors, I have been using this cocktail sauce a few times for salad dressing with shrimp on it. I enjoy the horseradish in the sauce.

20160712_190831

 

Chicken Parmigiana

I was bragging about how I use to make a kick butt chicken parmigiana so I got called out to make it. I will admit I was nervous because it has been a while since I made chicken parmigiana. I used my mom’s knowledge and this recipe to attempt my once delicious chicken parmigiana. I made 6 chicken breasts. I first dipped the chicken breasts into a bowl of milk. Then into a bowl of whole wheat flour. Then into a bowl with 2 eggs with 1/2 cup of water. Then into a bowl with Italian seasoned bread crumbs that I added 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese into. Once all of the chicken breasts were covered I placed them  on a baking tray lined with foil with a wire rack on it so that the chicken would get nice and crispy. I baked the chicken for 15 minutes on each side and then an addition 10-15 minutes. I used a meat thermometer and took the chicken out of the oven when the chicken ready 160.

To make the sauce, I sauteed a large shallot  with 6 sliced mushrooms. Once they were soft I added a 5 cloves of garlic and sauteed for 1 more minute. I then added 2 jars of Newman’s Own spaghetti sauce (fire roasted tomato and basil and mushroom). I rinsed both containers with a heavy had of Shiraz wine and added that to the sauce. I let the sauce simmer for a good 30 minutes.

I placed 2 cups of sauce on the bottom of a 9×13 pan and then place 4 of the chicken breasts in the pan. I then topped each breast with sauce. I then added sliced basil to each chicken breast and then topped each one with a slice of provolone cheese. I placed the pan back into the over for another 15 minutes until the sauce was bubbly and the  cheese was brown. We served the chicken parmigiana over fettuccine.  The only thing I would change is I would use a meat tenderizer to pound the chicken breasts a little flatter to even them out a little before breading them, but other than that this dish turned out great! We used 2 of the chicken breasts that were breaded and baked but not sauced to make buffalo chicken sandwiches 2 days later. 🙂

 

Peach Balsamic Chicken

This recipe is amazing! It is from the recipe book my gym sends out every month and it had really good flavors. The only thing I changed was that I didn’t have fresh basil so I had to used dried basil.

Ingredients ▪ 1 tbsp coconut oil ▪ 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts ▪ kosher salt  ▪ Freshly ground black pepper ▪ 2 cloves garlic, minced ▪ 1 shallot, chopped ▪ 5 large peaches, sliced ▪ 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar ▪ 1/3 c. torn fresh basil

Instructions ▪ In a large skillet over medium heat, heat coconut oil and season chicken with salt and pepper. ▪ Cook in skillet until golden and no longer pink, 8 minutes per side then transfer to a plate. ▪ Add garlic and shallot to skillet and sauté 2 minutes then add peaches and cook until softened, 5 minutes more. ▪ Pour in balsamic vinegar and simmer until slightly reduced, 2 minutes. Stir in basil and serve the chicken with the balsamic peaches.

I swear there is chicken in the picture below – it is just covered by all of the peaches and delicious juice!

20160720_181113

 

Until next time, more cooking adventures await!

Weeks 17, 18, and 19: Curried Chicken Salad, French Toast Casserole, and Boiled Shrimp

Weeks 17, 18, and 19 Summary:

Curried Chicken Salad

This dish turned out amazing. While I enjoy food I will honest admit that I just kind of “wing it” when it comes to creating / editing recipes and I have never understood when people say a dish’s flavor is well balanced. Well let me tell you, this dish changed my mind. This dish’s flavor is so well balanced! Hints of lemon, and oregano, with curry sauce and yogurt tang. Man it was delicious. The only change I made was to use a hot curry powered so it gave it a little kick.  I originally served it on a sweet potato (shown below), but had the left overs on a pretzel bun; both of which are great options.

Ingredients ▪ 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, room temp ▪ 6 tablespoons coconut oil ▪ 4 large garlic cloves, minced ▪ 1 teaspoon dried thyme ▪ 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano ▪ 1-1/4 teaspoon salt ▪ 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper ▪ 1-1/2 teaspoons lemon zest, from one lemon ▪ 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt (I used siggi’s) ▪ 1 teaspoon curry powder ▪ 2 teaspoons water ▪ 1 small apple, chopped ▪ 1/3 cup diced celery ▪ 3 tablespoons raisins ▪ 1/8 teaspoon salt

Instructions ▪ Place chicken breasts between 2 pieces of wax paper and, using a meat mallet, pound to an even 1-inch thickness. ▪ Combine next 7 ingredients together in a 1 gallon zip-lock bag then add chicken breasts and massage marinade into meat until evenly coated. ▪ Seal bag and place in a bowl in refrigerator to marinate, at least 4 hours. ▪ Preheat grill or grill pan to high and place well-coated chicken breasts on the grill for 2-3 minutes per side. Set aside to cool before chopping. ▪ Combine yogurt, curry powder, and water in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk until well blended. ▪ Add the grilled chicken, chopped apple, celery, raisins, and salt then stir mixture well to combine. Cover and chill.

20160615_192204

 

French Toast Casserole

I made this casserole using french bread and this recipe as a based. I made some changes to the recipe (using white sugar instead of brown, I did not add the topping, and I added maple syrup to the cream cheese filling). I baked it for 45 minutes because I like it softer. I liked this casserole a lot with a little salt on it, because I am not a huge sweets person. Sorry there are no pictures of the casserole, we ate it too fast 🙂

Ingredients: 1 (12-14 ounce) loaf french bread ▪ 8 ounces brick-style cream cheese, softened to room temperature ▪ 2 Tablespoons white sugar 2 Tablespoons mape syrup ▪ 3 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided ▪ 8 large eggs  ▪ 2 and 1/4 cups 2% milk  ▪ 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon  ▪ 2/3 cup white sugar

Directions:  ▪ Grease a 9×13 pan with butter or spray with nonstick spray. Slice then cut the bread into cubes, about 1 inch in size. Spread half of the cubes into the prepared baking pan. ▪ Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the room temperature (not cold!) cream cheese on medium-high speed until completely smooth. Beat in the 2 tablespoons of sugar, maple syrup, and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract until combined. ▪  Drop random spoonfuls of cream cheese mixture on top of the bread. Layer the remaining bread cubes on top of cream cheese. Set aside.  ▪ Whisk the eggs, milk, cinnamon, brown sugar, and remaining vanilla together until no sugar lumps remain. ▪ Pour over the bread. Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap and stick in the refrigerator for 3 hours – overnight. Overnight is best. ▪ Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Remove pan from the refrigerator.  ▪ Bake for 45-55 minutes or until golden brown on top.

 

Boiled Shrimp

I have been told that you should try to eat shrimp ~2 times a week and frankly, I don’t have the time after work to sit and peel and devein shrimp to then saute a set amount for that day. I found this recipe and thought it would be a good quick way to cook a large number of shrimp without turning them into rubber. I followed the recipe but I added some lemon slices to the water too. I really liked that the recipe has you put the shrimp shell in the boiling water to flavor the water. I will probably be cooking shrimp this way more frequently.  A photo of the shrimp mixture out of the pot is shown below.

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Until next time, more cooking adventures await!

Week 16: Coffee Rubbed Chicken and French Toast!

Week 16 Summary

I have been intrigued by coffee rubbed steaks for a while, but whenever I am out at a restaurant I decide not to order it. I had some chicken thighs in the freezer so I decided to try a coffee rub on chicken. Let me tell you; it is interesting. I quite like it but it doesn’t really taste like coffee. It was best described as giving the chicken a bratwurst like taste. This is the website where I found the coffee rub I used. I used my spice mill and ground 2 tablespoons of dark roast coffee and then I added salt and pepper to the mix. I let the chicken marinate for 3o minutes and then cooked the thighs in the oven. I made a second batch of rub and let chicken breasts sit for about a day before I cooked them in the oven. I did’t notice much of a difference in the taste.

20160524_183647

 

I am not usually not a sweets person, especially for breakfast, but I was craving some french toast this weekend. It has been years since I have made french toast so I followed this recipe. I doubled the amount of cinnamon and added 1 teaspoon of nutmeg as well as using coconut flour instead of all-purpose flour. The amounts I used are as follows.

Ingredients: 1/4 cup coconut flour, 1 cup milk, 1 pinch salt, 3 eggs, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 tablespoon white sugar, 2 tablespoons of Great Lakes Gelatin, 8 pieces of HyVee cinnamon bread

The french toast turned out okay. I was expecting something a little more toast-like and the french toast to me was a little on the soft side. My guest was just happy to be able to use the syrup with breakfast, so I didn’t hear any complaints from him. The next day we toasted some of the left over pieces in the oven and made sandwiches with bacon and fried eggs which turned out delicious.

French Toast

 

Until next week, more cooking adventures await!

 

Weeks 13, 14, and 15: Grilled Veggies and Fruit, “Lime” Smoothie, Bison Burgers, Potato Salad

The past few weeks I have not been real adventurous when it comes to “new” recipes as I have been trying to eat down the food in my freezer and not go grocery shopping. However, I did get a little adventurous with my use of the grill.

In the past week or so, I have grilled eggplant (delicious), zucchini (great), peaches (amazing), and pears (meh). I lightly oiled the vegetables and sprinkled with salt prior to placing them on the grill; I left the fruit plain. The eggplant was cut into 0.5″ slices. The zucchini was cut in half length wise. The peaches were halved and the pits removed. The pears were quartered and the core removed. The fruits and vegetables were grilled 3-4 minutes per side.The fruit was grilled skin side down first. Everything turned out really good, the flavor from the grill was really different than the fresh items. The peaches and bison burger combination was probably the most  winning combination of flavors. The pears turned out okay but I am not  giving up hope on them. I think the pears that I grilled were a little on the under ripe side so they had a bit more crunch to them than I would have preferred. I only have a picture of the eggplant, but I assure you the other items looked just as beautiful!

20160527_203829

 

Smoothies are turning into my guilty pleasure food when I don’t want to “cook” and I would love nothing more than eat a pint of ice cream for a meal. This week I tried this key lime pie shake. It turned out not very limey, which is sad because I quite enjoy limes. I did not add the maple syrup because I didn’t want to make it sweet, and I did not add the yogurt because I forgot to buy it at the store. Additionally, I did not use key lime because I could only find regular limes at the store. I will probably attempt this recipe again once I find some key limes.

Ingredients ▪ 2 Tbs Collagen Protein Powder ▪  1 cup milk ▪  1 frozen banana ▪  1 Tbs key lime juice ▪  Zest of one key lime ▪  1/2 teaspoon maple syrup ▪  1 cup ice cubes ▪ 2 slices avocado ▪  1 Tbs nonfat plain Greek yogurt

Instructions ▪ Blend all ingredients together.

20160530_190122

 

Oh delicious bison, you have replaced beef burgers as my burger of choice. The bison burgers had a delicious flavor and moistness that was perfect. This was my first attempt at making a bison burger and it turned out rather good. I combined the following ingredients and then formed 3 patties. The burgers were sprayed with pam before being placed on the grill. The burgers were grilled 4 ish minutes per side. We prefer medium rare burgers and in the future we will probably grill the burgers 3 minutes per side. I didn’t get a photo of the burgers before we devoured them.

Ingredients ▪ 12 oz ground bison ▪ 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs ▪ 1 egg▪ 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce ▪ 1 pinch granulated garlic ▪ 1 pinch ground black pepper ▪  2 tablespoons of BBQ mustard marinade / sauce

 

This summer I am on a quest to create an amazing potato salad recipe. I cannot find the original recipe I started with this weekend but it morphed over the weekend so it doesn’t really matter what the recipe was. I started by chopping 4 red potatoes and boiling them 25-30 minutes until they were soft. I then let the potatoes cool for ~20 minutes before adding 2 diced hard boiled eggs, mayonnaise, 1 small diced yellow onion, salt, a dash of paprika, and ~1 teaspoon of dry yellow mustard. The next morning the potato salad tasted like mayonnaise and eggs. So I added some celery salt, Dijon mustard, and 1 chopped dill pickle. After letting it sit in the refrigerator until dinner time, the flavors melded together into something that tasted like a decent potato salad. It was definitively a great first attempt however it didn’t knock our socks off; and I am on a mission to make a show-stopping potato salad.

 

Until next week, more cooking adventures await!

 

 

Weeks 10, 11, 12: Pork Tenderloin, Smoothie, Grilled Grouper, Broccoli Quiche, and Shrimp Salad

Well, I have been keeping up my cooking, I just haven’t been blogging about it. I hope to get back in the weekly blogging mode soon. I have been getting all of my other things in life back on track so I feel like this is the natural next step.

Weeks 10, 11, and 12 Summary

First up: Pork Tenderloin with sautéed peppers and onions

I used the following recipe (it can also be found here) to make my pork tenderloin. I did not stab it with the fork as she suggested.It turned out really well however I did have to cook it for 25-30 minutes in order to get it to the correct internal temperature.

Ingredients

1 tsp sea salt, or to taste
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp Italian Seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground coriander
2 Tbsp oil (vegetable oil, avocado oil or extra light olive oil – should have a high smoke point).
1 Pork Tenderloin (about 1¼ lb)

Instructions

How to make Roasted Pork Tenderloin: Preheat oven to 400˚F with the rack in the middle.
Trim tenderloin of fat and any silver skin and pat dry with a paper towel. Pierce pork loin all over with a fork and rub with 1 Tbsp oil.
Combine your seasonings and sprinkle onto the tenderloin then use your hands to rub the spices into the tenderloin until evenly coated.
Heat 1 Tbsp oil over med-high heat in a large oven-safe pan (cast iron or a dutch oven will work). Once oil is hot, add pork and brown on all sides (6 minutes total).
Place in the oven and bake uncovered at 400˚F for 13-15 min, flipping the tenderloin over halfway through baking. Bake until center of pork registers at least 150˚F then transfer to a cutting board and let meat rest 5-10 min. Slice into rings and serve.

 

Broccoli Quiche

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The past two weeks I have been obsessed with making this broccoli quiche recipe on Sunday night and then eating the quiche for breakfast during the week. It is super simple, tastes great, and it is relatively healthy! It makes six servings

Ingredients ▪ Coconut oil ▪ 10 oz package frozen chopped broccoli ▪ 6 large eggs ▪ đ cup plain Greek yogurt ▪ 1 teaspoon salt ▪ Ɖ teaspoon ground pepper ▪ 1 tablespoon minced garlic ▪ ¦ cup or 3oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Instructions ▪ Preheat oven to 400F and coat a 9-inch pie dish with coconut oil ▪ Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the broccoli and cook 1 minute, just to defrost then drain really well. ▪ In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, yogurt, salt, black pepper and garlic. ▪ Stir in the broccoli and the cheese. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pie dish and bake until golden- brown and a knife inserted in center comes out clean, 30-35 minutes.

 

Smoothie

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I got a magic bullet in a Christmas grab bag and I decided to put it to use. I have been enjoying making fruit smoothies for dinner when I am feeling too lazy to cook. What a could be easier than frozen fruit, milk or juice,  and yogurt! The recipe I used is below.

Ingredients ▪ 1 cup organic frozen mixed berries ▪ 1 frozen banana, cut into chunks ▪ 1 orange ▪ 2 tbsp Great Lakes Gelatin protein powder ▪ 5oz container Greek Yogurt ▪ ice cubes

Instructions ▪ Blend all ingredients until smooth

 

Grilled Grouper

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I cannot take full credit for the photo above and unfortunately for anyone else,  I/we did not follow a recipe. While on vacation my brother and I grilled a grouper filet and made a grilled pineapple and pepper salsa. We served it over grilled asparagus. It was amazing! We use old bay seasoning on the fish and just oil salt and pepper on the asparagus. We served this with a fruity wine that complimented the dish very well.

 

Shrimp Salad

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Also while on vacation we decided to make this recipe. I did not take a picture of this after we made it but it did turn out delicious with the fresh gulf shrimp. We added a grilled jalapeño to the recipe to give it some kick. This salad really turned into a salsa, it  was delicious on crackers and chips. If I were to make it again I would cut the shimp into smaller pieces and serve it with crackers.

 

Phew, now you and I are all caught up.

Until next week, more cooking adventures await!