Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Something good and something bad: Part II

Hey there bloggers! Thought I would leave you a little goodie for the midst of finals..if you are in the midst of finals like I am. It stinks. Nothing better for procrastination than a tasty meal (or blogging about tasty meals...wonder how my final will go tomorrow morning). Now, here is a little dish for all of the vegetarians out there. I know I probably don't give you guys enough recipes, but here we go :) This dish was so easy, and so flavorful! It was my first attempt at tempeh since I'm not a big fan of tofu, and let me tell you...success. Also, original.

Lemon Pepper Tempeh

What ya need:

1 cup tri-color pearl couscous

1 cup cherry tomatoes

1 cup sundried tomatoes

1 package frozen brussel sprouts

4-6 strips of lemon pepper tempeh

What ya do:

*First make the couscous. You can simply follow the directions on the package, but it usually calls for 1 1/4 cup water, 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp butter. The salt and butter are optional, I just used the salt. You make couscous similarly to the way you make pasta. Just boil the water, and then cook the couscous for about 10 minutes.

*While the couscous is cooking, throw a little olive oil or non-fat cooking spray in a sautee pan for the veggies and tempeh. Once heated, lay the strips of tempeh in the pan with the cherry tomatoes and sundried tomatoes. Feel free to spice it up with a little garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Sautee for about 10 minutes, or until tempeh has browned a bit.

*When the veggies and couscous are almost done, throw the frozen brussel sprouts in the microwave. I know, I know. Frozen? Really Cate? But sometimes you don't have time to go all out. Cheating is ok sometimes.

*Toss everything together and enjoy! It's flavorful, colorful, and pretty darn healthy.

-And now, to continue this two part series with something bad. We had presentations for one of my classes, and we all decided to bring in delicious snacks and treats to cushion the blow of 3 hours worth of tutoring talk. These suckas are a recipe of my Mom's neighbor, and are SO ADDICTIVE. Seriously. Maybe I just have portion control issues..you decide. Also there are only a few ingredients, so if you are poor like me it works :)

Scottie Bars

What ya need:

1 cup peanut butter

1 cup light corn syrup

6 cups rice krispies

1 cup chocolate chips

1 cup butterscotch chips

What ya do:

*Heat gently the peanut butter and corn syrup.

*Add 6 cups rice krispies and pat into greased 13x9 inch pan.

*Microwave/heat 1 cup chocolate and butterscotch morsels.

*Spread on top and chill.

-SO AMAZING. Indulge after your delicious vegetarian meal. Or have seven in one week like me. Oops. Why am I not 500 pounds?

Happy eating!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Something good and something bad: Part I

Bloggers! Oh hai!

So...thoughts on health food. Although I do enjoy eating healthy, it is nicer to eat vegetables with a little extra something on them. Anyone who says they crave plain celery is fooling themselves. Unless my stick of celery has 75 tablespoons of peanut butter on it, I ain't eatin' it.

So here is a lovely healthy dish, with a little extra something (cough gouda cheese cough).

Asparagus and Pea Quesadilla Lasagna

What ya need:

whole wheat tortilla

asparagus (about 5-6 stalks)

1/2 cup frozen peas

1/2 cup ricotta cheese

1 tsp. minced garlic
2 slices cheese (I used Gouda)

garnishes: green onions, gorgonzola cheese, parsley (I just used green onions).

What ya do:

*Blanch the asparagus by putting the stalks into a pot of boiling water for about five minutes, and cook the peas (I used frozen so you could be a cheater like me).

*Mix the garlic with the ricotta. Season with salt and pepper.
*Spread mixture on half of the tortilla, layer vegetables, top with cheese slices and place the other tortilla half on top. I did multiple layers!

*Place the quesadilla/lasagna creation into a casserole dish or on a baking sheet, whatever is easiest. I used aluminum foil as well, for easy clean up. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes, or until the top of the quesadilla is lightly browned and the cheese has melted.

*Garnish with green onions, parsley or gorgonzola cheese!

-Ok, so then obviously we needed a super unhealthy dessert to balance out all this crazy nutty healthy stuff going on. My friend Kristin had a birthday party, which was a great excuse to drink booze and eat junk. So I decided to use up the box of thin mint cookies in the freezer that I was avoiding. It's great to use things that you have already..sometimes I'll just pick one item in my pantry and research different ways to use it.

Thin Mint Truffles

What ya need:

1/2 box of Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies (1 sleeve) + 3 cookies

4 oz Cream Cheese, softened

What ya do:

*In a food processor, process 1 sleeve of Thin Mints Girl Scout Cookies until they resemble course sand.

*Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and add the cream cheese. Mix together by hand until fully incorporated. Scoop out by the tablespoon (or use a small scoop) and roll into a nice ball in your hands to form truffles.

*Pulse the extra 3 cookies in the food processor until it resembles course sand and place in a small bowl. Roll the truffles in the processed cookie crumbs to coat. (Instead of saving the extra cookies, I pulsed all of them and rolled the truffles in hot chocolate!)

*Chill coated truffles for at least an hour to set up.... or overnight for flavors to really develop with the cream cheese.

Happy eating!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Chicken Scaloppine and Lemon Orzo

Hi-ho everyone!

So like I said, I have so many backed up recipes that I'm going to try to post more often. Every time I sit down for a meal I pop back up to grab my camera! I'm probably pretty annoying to eat with.

This meal was an amazing light dinner that had good flavor, and was pretty simple. It would be the perfect weeknight dinner, for those nights that you come home exhausted and the last thing you want to do is make some elaborate meal. Unless you are like me. Food Nerd.

I would also just like to point out that I am an idiot. When it comes to cooking, I can be too impulsive. I measure things with terrible precision (yeah that looks good), I add things to the recipe whenever I want, and in this case I don't read through the directions all the way through. For this chicken dish, it was meant to have a lemon sauce. I should know this, as I've made chicken piccata before and the two are very similar. I will include the sauce recipe even though I didn't use it, so really just ended up making plain old chicken. Trial and error, right?

Chicken Scaloppine

What ya need:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, rinsed and patted dry

kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 eggs, beaten

1 tablespoon milk or water

1 1/2 cups bread crumbs or panko (I used Panko! Crunch and delish)

1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional, but cheese is never optional in my book)

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil (I used canola oil)

What ya do:

*Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Place each chicken breast (I do two at a time) between two pieces of parchment paper or plastic wrap. Using a rolling pin flatten chicken breasts until they are about 1/4-inch thick. Season both sides with salt and pepper.

*Set out three plates for the eggs, flour and breadcrumbs. On the first plate, put the flour. On the second plate, mix the eggs and water or milk. On the third plate, place the panko and parmesan cheese. Season each plate lightly with salt and pepper.

*Dip the chicken breasts in first the flour, then egg mixture and panko.
Heat a large ovenproof pan (or cast iron skillet) over medium-high heat, and add the oil. Place the chicken breasts in the pan. Brown on both sides until golden (about 3 minutes per side)

*Transfer the pan to the oven (or the chicken to a sheet pan) and cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a rack to rest briefly.

Here's the sauce I didn't use...oops.

Ina's Lemon Butter Sauce
What ya need:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

2/3 cup lemon juice (from 4 lemons), with lemon halves reserved

1 cup dry white wine

Sliced lemon, for serving

Parsley, for serving

What ya do:

*For the sauce, wipe out the saute pan with a dry paper towel. Melt two tablespoons of the butter over medium heat, and then add the lemon juice, white wine, the reserved lemon halves, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

*Boil mixture over high heat until reduced in half, about 2-4 minutes. Off the heat, add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter a little at a time and swirl to combine. Discard the lemon halves and remove from heat.

*To serve, place one chicken breast on each plate. Spoon on the sauce over the chicken and serve with a slice of lemon and a sprinkling of fresh parsley.

Lemon Orzo with Asparagus and Tomatoes

What ya need:

12 oz. orzo

1 bunch fresh asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

1 lemon, zested and juiced

4 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

2 Tbs. fresh parsley, minced

Kosher salt

Fresh ground pepper

Grated Parmigiano Reggiano

What ya do:

*Bring 2 large pots of water to boil. Add a big pinch of salt in each.
To one pot, add asparagus and blanch, about 2 to 3 minutes, depending on the thickness of your asparagus. Place blanched asparagus in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and keep them green.

*To the second pot, add the orzo. Cook per package instructions. When tender, drain and place in a large bowl. Add blanched asparagus and tomato halves.

*Mix olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Stir into orzo and vegetables. Stir in parsley and grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A fancy steak dinner

Hey my blog friends!

Much to my dismay, my boyfriend is a huge meat eater. Huge. So being the doting and lovely and humble girlfriend that I am, I made him a lovely steak dinner a couple weeks ago during a rough bout of exams. To even more of my dismay, he loves potatoes. In case you haven't heard about my disdain for potatoes, you can go back a few blogs ago and read an angry potato-related rant. In my personal opinion, the only saving grace about this meal was the carrots. However, the steak was tender and juicy, and the blue cheese butter is TO DIE FOR. Seriously. Put this on meat, put this on bread, pour it over some roasted veggies....whatever it is, you will keel over.

So since meats aren't really my thang, I had Steve make the steak. We took it out about 15 minutes before the rest of the dishes were completed and rubbed it down with some good old fashioned steak seasoning, and threw it on the grill.

Steak with Blue Cheese Butter

What ya need:

2 tablespoons softened butter

2 tablespoons softened blue cheese

1/4 teaspoon minced Italian parsley

freshly ground black pepper

What ya do:

*Fork together the butter, cheese, parsley and a good pinch of freshly ground black pepper.

*Place onto resting meats, or spread onto crusty bread.

-For the potatoes, I found a recipe for twice-baked potatoes with broccoli and cheddar. Now this may not be the healthiest, but feel free to just do broccoli or use low-fat sour cream (I did). I have always lovedddd my Mom's twice-baked potatoes and though these were not nearly as good, they got the job done. Also, I got the recipe from a blog done by a girl named Cate! Spelled the same!!! It's madness!!!! With exclamation points!!!

Twice-baked Potatoes with Broccoli and Cheddar

What ya need:

4 medium-sized baking potatoes

1 cup finely chopped broccoli florets

1/2 cup (loosely packed) shredded cheddar cheese

2-4 tbsp milk

1/2 tsp salt

What ya do:

*Heat the oven to 400 F.
Bake the potatoes for about 50 minutes, or until soft.

*Carefully slice each potato in half lengthwise, and scoop the potato flesh into a bowl, leaving the skins intact.
Put the skins on a baking sheet.

*Mash the flesh until smooth, and stir in the remaining ingredients. Add enough milk so that the mixture is soft and smooth.
Scoop the filling into the potato skins and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

-My favorite dish of this meal (although the steak was seriously mind-blowing) was the carrots. These carrots I got from one of my favorite cookbooks, "Great Food Fast". These carrots are incredibly easy, sweet, and the best part is that you probably have all the ingredients to make them right now! Probably except for the carrots. I usually have baby carrots but never usually Mama carrots but maybe you do?

Glazed Carrots

What ya need:

9 carrots (1 1/2 pounds) quartered and cut into 2-inch lengths

1 TBL sugar

1 TBL butter

1/2 tsp coarse salt and fresh ground pepper

What ya do:

*In a skillet, bring carrots, sugar, butter, salt, and 1/2 cup water to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer partly covered for 6 minutes.

*Cook uncovered, over high heat, tossing often until tender, 3-4 minutes. Season with pepper.