Grilled Chicken and Zucchini Tortas

Posted on

Generally, this is how meal planning goes around here: On Thursday we get the grocery ads for the next week and I sit down and pick meals based on what we have on hand already and what’s going to be on sale. I email the list off to Mark and he either approves it, vetoes things or reminds me of plans I’ve forgotten that would throw off dinner. It’s a good system.

And then there are weeks when things just get busy and fall through the cracks. I realized as we were standing in the grocery store shopping for the week that I’d never bounced the week’s dinners off him – and he was really skeptical of this meal. Luckily, once dinner was on the table, he liked it. We served it along with onion rings and fresh cut-up veggies.

Grilled Chicken and Zucchini Tortas
(from Parade)
Serves 2

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. paprika
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 medium zucchini
1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Hot sauce, to taste
2 cups shredded cabbage
Juice of 1/2 line
2 rolls

Whisk together the garlic, oregano, paprika, oil, salt and pepper until well combined. Quarter the zucchini lengthwise and pound out the chicken to 1/2″ thick. Place zucchini and chicken on separate plates and rub each with the marinade evenly. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise and hot sauce to taste.  Remove half of the mayonnaise mixture to a small bowl and set aside. To the medium bowl, add the cabbage and lime juice and toss until evenly coated. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Grill chicken and zucchini over medium heat for about 10 minutes until chicken is cooked through and zucchini is tender, flipping halfway. Slice the chicken against the grain.

Serve the chicken and zucchini on rolls topped with mayonnaise spread and slaw.


Chocolate Covered Strawberry Overnight Oats

Posted on

For me, Pinterest is sort of a peer pressure zone. If I see a recipe or trend enough times, I feel like I need to try it too. This is why I started making overnight oats. I’m pretty sure the first time I saw it I thought it was gross – and then the idea grew on me. I’m a big oatmeal fan in the winter months, so this idea seemed perfect for the warmer weather.

I’ve tried quite a few overnight oat recipes, and this is the first one that has been blog worthy. I loved everything about this – the consistancy was spot-on for me and it felt like a treat without being overy sweet. I’ve already made it several times!

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Overnight Oats
(from Organize Yourself Skinny)
Serves 1

1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup chopped strawberries
1 1/2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
Large pinch of cinnamon
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. chia seeds
Small pinch of salt
On top: 1 chopped strawberry, 1 tsp. mini chocolate chips, extra milk for consistancy (if needed)

In a small bowl or jar, combine the oats, milk, 1/4 cup chopped strawberries, cocoa powder, cinnamon, vanilla, syrup, chia seeds and salt. Mix until well combined. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, thin with additional milk if desired (I didn’t – I like my oatmeal thick!) and top with chopped strawberry and mini chocolate chips.


Mini Chocolate Peanut Butter Layer Cake

Posted on

Yesterday was my husband’s birthday – the official kick off of our “celebrating season”. Within the next few weeks we’ll also celebrate my birthday and our anniversary. And next year we’ll be adding Father’s Day and baby boy’s birthday to this. Of course, this is on top of any graduations and weddings that are prevelant this time of year. It gets busy, to say the least. It also means we end up eating a lot of “celebrating” food.

When I asked Mark what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday, he said none. It was just going to be us celebrating and he didn’t want a whole cake for the two of us. I can’t really blame him – but the idea of no birthday cake just didn’t fly with me. The solution was obviously just to make a smaller cake.

This one was chocolate and peanut butter – the birthday boy’s favorite – and sized for two. Perfect!


Mini Chocolate Peanut Butter Layer Cake

(adapted from Picky Palate)
Serves 2-4

For the cake:
1/2 cup flour
2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocoalte chips

For the icing:
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. milk

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, for decoration

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Grease a large ramikin (or any other bowl/pan you want to use).

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, salt and baking soda.

In a microwave safe bowl, microwave the semi-sweet chocoate chips at half-power for 30 second intervals, until melted.

Add in the eggs, vegetable oil, vanilla extract and melted chocolate chips into the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined. Transfer batter to greased ramikin and bake until a knife inserted comes out clean – the time will vary based on your pan, for me it was 45-50 minutes.

Let it cool for 10 minutes before removing from ramikin to cool completely.

Slice the cake in half to make two layers.

In a medium bowl, stir together the peanut butter, powdered sugar and milk until smooth. Adjust the amount of powdered sugar or milk to get desired consistancy.

Spread about 1/3 cup of the icing on top of one of the laters and then place the other layer on top. Use remaining frosting to cover the cake. Sprinkle mini chocolate chips over as decoration, as desired.


Funfetti Cupcakes for Two

Posted on

Pickle dip. Ice cream bread. I bet you know what’s coming next, right? I won’t be cooking for two much longer – we’re expecting our first child this summer! We’re over-the-moon excited.

We found out last week that the baby is a boy, so it seemed appropriate to whip up something special to celebrate. I had blue and white sprinkles on hand already so funfetti was the obvious choice. There was lots of kicking going on after eating mine, so I’m sure baby boy liked them too.

I’m planning to continue blogging, although posts may be a little less frequent as we make the transition to a family of three. I’m also planning to share how we’ll stock the freezer pre-baby, keep ourselves fed post-baby and (eventually) how we’ll make our own baby food. I’m excited to continue sharing our cooking journey and hope you’ll be along for the ride!

Funfetti Cupcakes for Two
(from Chocolate and Carrots)
Makes 2 cupcakes

1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 Tbsp. milk
1 egg white
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. sugar
4 Tbsp. unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. sprinkles

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.

Beat the canola oil, egg, milk, vanilla extract and sugar together. Add in the flour and baking powder. Fold in the sprinkles, being careful not to over mix. Pour into two prepared muffin liners in a muffin pan.

Bake for about 15 minutes, or until a knife inserted comes out clean. Let cool and then ice as desired.


Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Salad

Posted on

I’ve made a few quinoa dishes before, and I’ve never loved them. They were ok, but nothing I’d make again. I started wondering if all the hype about quinoa was just that – hype – and it really wasn’t as good as everyone was making it out to be. And then I made this and took it all back.

This was delicious. I actually loved the veggies in the hot sauce dressing more than the chicken – I think next time I make it, it’ll be a vegetarian version to take for lunches. And even though this was buffalo, it didn’t seem that hot to me. Even if you’re not into very spicy, I think this is worth trying.

The recipe makes 2-3 large servings, but it reheats like a dream so doubling it is a fantastic idea.

Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Salad
(slightly adapted from Half Baked Harvest)
Serves 2-3

for the salad:
1 c. quinoa
2 c. water
1 T. olive oil
1 c. broccoli florets
3/4 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
1/4 c. hot sauce
3/4 c. shredded carrots
1/2 c. blue cheese crumbles, plus more for garnish

for the dressing:
1/2 c. olive oil
1/2 c. hot sauce
1 t. seasoned salt
For the dressing, whisk all ingredients together and set aside.
For the salad, rinse the quinoa well and add to a saucepan with two cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, until all water is absorbed.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the broccoli and cook for about 5 minutes, until slightly softened. Remove the broccoli and set aside. Add the chicken and 1/4 cup hot sauce to the pan. Cook until the chicken is cooked through and the hot sauce is absorbed.
In a large bowl, toss together the cooked quinoa, cooked chicken, cooked broccoli, carrots and blue cheese.  Add as much dressing as desired (I used about half) and toss to coat. Top with additional blue cheese before serving.

Steak Sandwiches with Blue Cheese Sauce

Posted on

Happy birthday to me! I love having a mid-year birthday – it’s like a mid-year reset button. New Year’s resolutions not going well? You can start over as you turn another year older.  Which is exactly what I’m going to do.

I’ve been on an on-going quest to eat better and cook more from scratch. It’s a process and a challenge – and the last few months I haven’t been doing so well. We’ve been eating out or getting take out more than I would like.

I’m not ready to give up my favorite junk foods, cheesesteak included, but I’m going to make more of an effort to cook them at home so I can better keep track of exactly what I’m eating. This recipe was sort of the test – could I really make something at home that could squash my takeout craving?

Absolutely.

Steak Sandwiches with Blue Cheese Sauce
(from Cook This, Not That!)
Serves 2

2 T. plain Greek yogurt
2 T. mayonnaise
1/4 c. crumbled blue cheese
8 oz. skirt steak or flank steak
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 sandwich rolls
Caramelized onions

In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, mayonnaise and blue cheese until well combined.

Season the steak with salt and pepper. Cook on a hot grill for about 8-10 minutes, turning half way. Allow to rest five minutes and then slice into thin strips.

Cut each roll in half lengthwise and spread the blue cheese sauce inside. Divide steak and caramelized onion between rolls.


Pork Chops with Strawberry Balsamic Sauce

Posted on

Last year, we planted a small strawberry patch – this year, it’s exploding. I love it. We’re in the height of the season now, it seems, and we’re picking a few handfuls of berries a day.

We’ve been eating them for breakfast and throughout the day, but they were starting to pile up just a little so I went searching for a way to incorporate them into dinner, too. These pork chops were perfect – so good, super easy after a long day of work and they used up that day’s strawberry bounty!

 

Pork Chops with Strawberry Balsamic Sauce
(from Taste.com)
Serves 2

1 1/2 c. strawberries, chopped
2 T. good-quality balsamic vinegar
1 t. sugar
1 T. olive oil
2 pork chops
Salt & pepper, to taste
2 T. chicken stock

Toss the strawberries, balsamic vinegar and sugar together in a small bowl. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large frying pan. Season pork chops with salt and pepper and then add to pan. Cook through, about 10 minutes. Remove to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

Deglaze the pan with the chicken stock and then add strawberry mixture to the pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low until heated through. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Top pork with strawberry balsamic sauce and serve.


Cheddar & Apple Breakfast Panini

Posted on

I have a bit of a cookbook-buying problem. Especially when it comes to library sales. A few weeks ago, when at a library sale I picked up a 2005 Weight Watchers Five Ingredient 15 Minute Cookbook. We were in the middle of a few really busy weeks so the quick and easy plug totally got me.

I really like the sandwich section of this book. There are a whole bunch on the to-make list. This is a riff on one that was in the book. I wasn’t sure how cheddar on cinnamon raisin bread, but it’s fantastic. These were a great, quick breakfast. I sliced up the rest of the apple each day to eat along with to round out the meal.

Cheddar & Apple Breakfast Panini
(adapted from Weight Watchers Five Ingredients 15 Minute Cookbook 2005)
Serves 1

2 slices cinnamon raisin bread
2 slices cheddar cheese
1/4 granny smith apple, thinly sliced
Cooking spray

Spray one side of each piece of bread with cooking spray. Place one slice of cheese on each non-sprayed side of bread.  Add apple slices on top of cheese. Sandwich together and toast in a panini press until the outside crust is golden.

Slice and serve immediately.


Chicken Diablo

Posted on

I wasn’t always a fan of spicy dishes. You’d never know it now – they make regular appearances on our weekly menu, but there was a time when I’d avoid them at all costs. I’m now making up for lost time.

When I started browsing Kylee Cooks for the latest Blogger’s Choice Swap, this caught my eye immediately. It looked spicy and creamy and just, well, really good. It totally delivered, too. I really loved the spicy diablo sauce over it. I’m planning to use the leftover as a dip for crunchy chicken nuggets.

Chicken Diablo
(from Kylee Cooks)
Serves 2

1/4 c. Frank’s hot pepper sauce
1/2  c. sour cream
1/4 c. ketchup
1/8 c. honey
1/2 t. sweet paprika
1/2 t. ground cumin
2 chicken breasts, pounded out thinly
1 T. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 c. sliced scallions
1 c. cooked brown rice, for serving

In a small bowl, whisk together the hot sauce, sour cream, ketchup and honey. Stir in paprika and cumin until well combined. Pour half of the sauce into another bowl and add chicken – turn to coat. Refrigerate and let marinate at least two hours, or overnight. Refrigerate remaining sauce in a separate container.

When ready to cook, heat oil in a frying pan until shimmering. Add garlic to the pan and cook for 30 seconds. Add the marinated chicken the pan and cook for 12-15 minutes or until cooked through, turning halfway.

In a small saucepan, heat the sauce from the separate container until just simmering.

Serve the chicken over rice, topped with warmed sauce.

You can check out what other bloggers made for the swap below. As always, thanks to Sarah for hosting!



Sweet & Spicy Green Beans

Posted on

I’ve been on a sides kick lately (have you noticed?) so when I was assigned Nichole’s blog for the latest blogger’s choice swap, I immediatedly went to see what kind of sides she had blogged.

Green beans are a favorite around here, so I knew these would be a big hit. We also always have the ingredients on hand so I’m sure this is a side that will make it into our regular rotation.

Sweet & Spicy Green Beans
(adapted from Cookaholic Wife)
Serves 2 as a side

1/2 lb. fresh green beans, ends trimmed
1 T. olive oil
1 t. reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 t. chile garlic sauce
1 tsp. honey
Pinch of sesame seeds, toasted

In a medium frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add green beans and cook until slightly browned and soft. Stir in soy sauce, chile garlic sauce and honey, tossing to coat.

Once the sauce has heated through, transfer beans to a serving bowl and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

You can check out what the other bloggers in the swap chose to make below. Thanks, Sarah, for hosting!